Belfast Telegraph

Bombardier’s back on track

Transport giant wins £188m train contract after losing deal

By Peter Woodman

Transport giant Bombardier - which has an aerospace arm in east Belfast - has won a new £188m train contract months after losing out to Germany for a lucrative order.

England's Department for Transport, heavily criticised for preferring Siemens of Germany to the Derby-based Bombardier plant for the previous Thameslink contract, is providing £80m for the new deal with the Southern train company.

Bombardier, which announced hundreds of jobs losses in England after failing to win the Thameslink deal, will build 130 new rail carriages for Southern which runs services in south London, Surrey, Sussex and Kent.

The new carriages are due to enter service in December 2013.

The row over the Siemens-Bombardier battle for the Thameslink contract prompted the Government to look at the whole question of future rail procurement.

The Government funding for the Southern deal came from money made available following last month's Autumn Statement by Chancellor George Osborne.

Transport Secretary Justine Greening said: "This deal for more than 100 new carriages is great news for rail passengers and brilliant news for Bombardier and Derby.

"It lands Bombardier with a crucial train order and I look forward to Bombardier workers in Derby being among the winners of this important deal.

"This deal, helped along by my department, shows my determination to invest in Britain's railways: our support for Southern will boost capacity while helping British jobs. I can't think of a better outcome."

Derby North MP Chris Williamson said the order was "extremely good news".

"There is a strong likelihood that this will secure the company's future in Derby for the next 12 to 18 months," he said.

"This is good news but it shouldn't deflect us from continuing to campaign to get the Thameslink deal reversed or to make sure changes in the contracting regime are made to ensure Bombardier gets the major Crossrail job."

Tony Tinley, of the Unite union, added: "It's absolutely fantastic news for the employees and also for the community campaign that has been run through the city.

"I can only guess the £80m from the Government signals a commitment to manufacturing that is long overdue."

A report earlier this month by the Commons Transport Committee was critical of the way the Thameslink deal was conducted.

Belfast Telegraph

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