German manufacturer Siemens has promised to deliver new UK jobs after beating Bombardier to the Thameslink contract.
It already has 13 manufacturing sites in Britain - none make trains. The Thameslink trains will instead be made in Germany, although Siemens said it would make some of the components at one of its existing factories at Hebburn, Tyne and Wear.
Siemens already employs 16,000 people in the UK and it said winning the Thameslink contract would create up to 2,000 new UK jobs. In a statement issued by the company yesterday, it said up to 600 people would be employed in "the manufacture of train components", including 300 at the Hebburn factory. The remainder of the jobs - 1,400 - would be created within its UK supply chain.
It is also planning to build two maintenance depots. Subject to planning permission these would be built at Three Bridges, near Crawley, West Sussex, and at Hornsey, north London.
In a statement, Siemens said: "These new jobs have the potential not only to leave a lasting and sustainable skills base in the UK supply chain but should also assist in creating a critical mass to allow such businesses to compete on the world stage for projects of a similar nature.
"The remaining positions will be created in the construction and service industry involved in building the two new maintenance depots and the ongoing maintenance of the fleet."
At the Railtex exhibition at Earl's Court yesterday, the Derby Telegraph spoke to Steve Scrimshaw, managing director for Siemens' UK rolling stock business.
The mood on the Siemens stand at the exhibition was ebullient following the Department for Transport's Thameslink announcement.
Representatives from the European rail industry were gravitating towards the stand, knowing Siemens had just unlocked billions of pounds of public money from the Department for Transport. Sitting inside a model of one of the firm's trains, Mr Scrimshaw said: "This is really good news for us. The trains will be manufactured and tested at two sites in Germany and we will be investing in two maintenance depots in the UK. There will be up to 600 jobs created in the supply chain."
When asked what would be the potential consequences for Bombardier employees at Litchurch Lane and others in the supply chain, Mr Scrimshaw, who used to live in Langley Mill, said: "I wouldn't like to comment on Bombardier and its own supply chain. The DfT runs a fair, competitive tender process and made the decision on the basis of value for money for the UK taxpayer."
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