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McLoughlin happy with Pacer replacement deal, and “busy” British order books

Following last week’s announcement by Arriva that CAF is to build 281 new carriages for the new Northern franchise to replace the Pacer trains, there was much noise made about “Why didn’t we go for a British manufacturer?” 

The transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP has, however, said he is happy with the deal, and the reason behind not going British is because order books are already “busy”. 

Speaking in Parliament, he said: “It would have been a bigger betrayal to the people of the north had we not said that we need new rolling stock to replace the Pacers. I am pleased that the government will replace the Pacers. 

“The very fact that our train builders in this country—Bombardier and Hitachi—are busy is because of the record investment the government are putting into the railways.” 

And he is right, to a degree, with Bombardier in the process of building Crossrail’s new Aventra fleet, winning the £260m contract for London Overground’s new fleet and delivering 80 Class 387 Electrostar vehicles for Porterbrook, to name but a few. 

With regards to Hitachi, it is in the process of building the Class 800/801 vehicles for WCML and ECML, it is to provide a fleet of AT300s for the new FGW franchise, and is working to supply of 70 new electric trains for ScotRail. Again, to name nut a few. 

So, is everyone happy like McLoughlin? Probably not. But at least there will be 98 new trains on the network by the end of 2019. 


Jb   29/01/2016 at 23:46

Sounds like we need another British train builder to avoid having to buy foreign goods - again!

Davidb_   30/01/2016 at 11:00

It's been said that Alstom are considering a site in Widnes, Cheshire, in their bidding for the TPE and HS2 contracts.

Melvyn   30/01/2016 at 21:49

The announcement that the new train for Northern will be built abroad because of full order books raises the question as to whether this reason will affect the major order for New Tube for London which will take many years to fulfil . In fact some trains ordered by Scotland from Hitachi will also be built abroad as its new facility as Newton Aycliffe is busy with the new inter city trains. It seems we need to develop a 3rd site for train construction given the number of trains that will need replacing in the coming years and that's before we get to HS2 and maybe Crossrail 2.

Huguenot   31/01/2016 at 20:26

The AT300s for GW will be built abroad and not in Newton Aycliffe. Shame. Given the delay to the GW electrification programme, it would have been better to have waited until later to order the AT300s, by which time Newton Aycliffe might have been able to accommodate them.

Industryobserver   02/02/2016 at 12:42

Alstom have applied for planning permission for an integrated rolling stock manufacturing and modernisation facility near to Widnes and with a rail connection the West Coast Mainline, and expect to have local authority approval by April 2016. The facility could be up and running within two years, and will include a skills academy and support for a local and UK supply chain.

Industryinsider   02/02/2016 at 13:39

What a pity Alstom didn't get the Northern Rail rolling stock order - its commitment to UK jobs via a new assembly plant would have been beneficial to the NW and been great support for the Northern Powerhouse (and for the company in the supply chain where I work in Manchester). The timing was unfortunate to say the least, with Newton Aycliffe and Derby busy for the next few years. Now we will see jobs protected in Spain instead of created here.

Jak Jaye   05/02/2016 at 20:56

We had a 'third' railway builder back in BR days,it was called York(!) oh and Brush,Loughborough and Crewe and Doncaster and on and on wonder what happened to them! oh yes a Tory Government sold them off and closed them down

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