Latest Rail News

07.05.14

Hitachi names IEP wheelsets supplier

Lucchini UK is to supply the wheelsets for the new Great Western Main Line (GWML) and East Coast Main Line (ECML) trains Hitachi Rail Europe is building for the Intercity Express Programme (IEP). 

The confirmation comes as Jamie Foster, procurement director from Hitachi Rail Europe, and Chris Fawdry, managing director of Lucchini UK, put pen to paper on the contract at a signing ceremony at Lucchini UK’s factory in Trafford Park, Manchester. 

The company’s refused to disclose the value of the contract, under which Lucchini UK will develop and produce about 3,500 wheelsets for the GWML and ECML trains covered under phase one of IEP. Contracts for similar provisions on phase two of IEP are expected to be completed later this year. 

Foster said: “This is a supplier with whom we have had a long-term relationship on other programmes. As part of the IEP, we conducted an extensive and competitive tendering process for wheelsets. 

“This process reaffirmed to us that we were already working with the right partner who can match our expectations on quality and reliability.” 

The wheelsets and related components have been designed in Hitachi Rail’s factory in Kasado, Japan, in collaboration with Lucchini RS engineers in Lovere, Italy. Lucchini RS has validated the final design of the wheel, axle and wheelset and have subsequently received TSI approval for circulation in the EU. Production is taking place in the Lucchini UK Manchester facilities, after which the wheelsets will be sent to Hitachi to be fitted to their own bogies. 

Lucchini UK’s MD Chris Fawdry added that the IEP contract “confirms our place at the forefront of high speed wheelset technology and manufacture”. He added: “It is a recognition of the excellent service that we maintained when we supplied to Hitachi all the new wheelsets for the Javelin trains that are so successful on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link between St Pancras and the South Coast”. 

As a result of the contract, Lucchini UK has stated that jobs for the majority of its workforce have been secured. It’s expected that five additional shop floor roles will be created once serial production starts in 2015. And the Manchester-based company is also doubling its apprenticeship intake over the year to accommodate the workload. 

(Image L to R: Chris Fawdry, managing director of Lucchini UK, and Jamie Foster, procurement director from Hitachi Rail Europe)

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