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Alstom opens UK’s largest train modernisation facility in Widnes

One of the largest centres for train modernisation to ever be built in the UK has today been unveiled by Alstom.

Situated in Widnes in the north west of England, the facility was opened by Parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Lord Prior of Brampton.

Alstom’s facility is now the biggest in the UK, covering over 13,000 square metres of space, and the company has said that due to its close embrace of ‘Industry 4.0’ principles, the facility is ideal for work on intercity trains.

Work is set to begin on delivering the €28m contract to repaint the 56-strong fleet of Class 390 ‘tilting’ Pendolino trains being used by Virgin on its West Coast Main Line. The Widnes facility also includes innovative Virtual Reality painting simulators that the team will be trained on and will be used to validate the work.

Alstom also stated that it intends to primarily employ people local to the Liverpool region at the facility in its 80-strong re-painting team that also includes five apprentices.

The first Pendolino to be worked upon sitting in the vast new site

The first Pendolino to be worked upon sitting in the vast new Widnes site

“This new centre for manufacturing will grow local skills, create hundreds of jobs both in Widnes and across the entire UK rail supply chain. This long-term investment marks Alstom’s commitment to the future of the sector in the UK,” said business minister Lord Prior.

“Through our ambitious Industrial Strategy, we are committed to supporting businesses and their supply chains across the country so that they can make the most of the opportunities ahead.”

Gian-Luca Erbacci, senior vice-president of Alstom in Europe, added: “I’m proud to be here in Widnes today opening the UK’s newest rail facility. Alstom is committed to the UK and this area.”

The Alstom senior vice-president added that the company’s commitment to five new apprentices showed its ambition to drive skills in the region.

“We want this to be just the start of our story in Widnes. We have already committed that if we win contracts like Transport for London’s Deep Tube Programme, we will build the new trains here, and we look forward to the Alstom Training Academy opening in September,” he concluded.

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Gary Broad   29/06/2017 at 18:59

On none of your websites do you say where you are in Widnes. I'm a local resident and just want to know WHERE YOU ARE!

Mikeb   29/06/2017 at 20:34

Gary. I understand the facility is in Halebank, adjacent to the Liverpool - Runcorn main line. As a training academy, it is good news for the engineering sector and it will provide skilled jobs for future. However, with regard to future train building on this site my concern is that, with Bombardier and Hitachi already building for the domestic market, we may end up with over-capacity within the sector, which could mean problems for one of the builders.

Adrian Waine   01/07/2017 at 22:03

As an industrial photographer, I can tell you that I have been involved with Pendolinos on 2 occasions. The first was for the company who provided the paint and the second was for the company who provided the carpets. All the photographs were used promotionally for the respective suppliers. I'm keen to hear what opportunities might now arise during these stages of refurbishment and future traing requirements

David Thompson   05/07/2017 at 19:40

What jobs are available and how do I apply ? Thanks David Thompson

Paul Canavan   07/09/2017 at 19:27


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