New train fac­tory

Rail (UK) - - Contents - Richard Clin­nick As­sis­tant Edi­tor richard.clin­nick@bauer­me­dia.co.uk @Clin­nick1

Span­ish train man­u­fac­turer Talgo iden­ti­fies six po­ten­tial sites for a £40m UK fac­tory that will em­ploy up to a thou­sand peo­ple.

SPAN­ISH train man­u­fac­turer Talgo in­tends to build trains in the UK for other parts of the world - in­clud­ing Aus­tralia, Africa and Canada.

The com­pany has iden­ti­fied six po­ten­tial sites for a UK fa­cil­ity that will cost at least £40 mil­lion to build: Ch­ester­field, Leeds and St Helens in Eng­land, Hun­ter­ston and Lon­gan­net in Scot­land, and Mostyn in north Wales. A fi­nal de­ci­sion will be made in Novem­ber. The fa­cil­ity will mea­sure some 40,000m2 and em­ploy up to 1,000 peo­ple.

Talgo UK Direc­tor Jon Veitch told RAIL at a launch event in Cardiff on Oc­to­ber 9 that the fa­cil­ity would take around 18 months to build, and that work would start as soon as any man­u­fac­tur­ing deal is se­cured. That deal would not have to be for UK trains.

Talgo Pres­i­dent Car­los de Pala­cio Oriol told RAIL at the same event that the com­pany needs a third fac­tory be­cause its two sites in Spain (Las Matas, near Madrid, and Riv­abel­losa in the Basque region) are at full ca­pac­ity.

“This is not an­other fac­tory, this will pro­duce dif­fer­ent tech­nol­ogy - Talgo is dif­fer­ent to oth­ers in what we pro­duce. It fits very well the think­ing of the UK to have dif­fer­ent tech­nol­ogy avail­able,” he said.

The Talgo pres­i­dent re­ferred to Talgo trains hav­ing a unique ‘un­der­car­riage’ that can re­duce ‘wear and tear’ on the track. Where needed, the com­pany says th­ese can have a nat­u­ral ‘tilt’ ca­pa­bil­ity, with­out “costly and com­plex systems”.

He was also keen to stress that the site would not just be about build­ing HS2 trains, for which Talgo has been short­listed, but var­i­ous mar­kets in the UK as well as over­seas.

“We have only two fac­to­ries in the world, so this is very im­por­tant that we in­tend to develop here,” he said.

Asked about Brexit, he said: “There would be no im­pact. This will be in­de­pen­dent.”

Talgo UK Direc­tor Jon Veitch later ex­plained to RAIL that the com­pany has re­ceived in­ter­est from other coun­tries out­side Europe.

The com­pany is adamant that it will not as­sem­ble kits of parts shipped from over­seas - rather it wants to source com­po­nents from within the UK and grow the sup­ply chain. The first pre-se­ries trains would be built in Spain, but after

that they would be UK prod­ucts.

“The es­tab­lish­ment of a man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in the UK is a sig­nif­i­cant part of Talgo’s fu­ture strat­egy,” de Pala­cio Oriol con­firmed.

“Talgo’s aim is to es­tab­lish true man­u­fac­tur­ing - rather than as­sem­bling from parts made else­where. This means that we will draw from ma­te­ri­als and ex­per­tise across the UK. This keeps more money in the UK econ­omy, and cre­ates more skilled long-term jobs.

“Al­though there can only be one fac­tory site, we have de­vel­oped ex­cel­lent re­la­tion­ships with all the coun­tries, re­gions and areas that we have vis­ited. We an­tic­i­pate con­tin­u­ing th­ese re­la­tion­ships to en­sure that Talgo pro­vides great op­por­tu­ni­ties across the UK.”

In a state­ment, the com­pany said that as the UK mar­ket has ma­tured, so it “has be­come bet­ter aligned with Talgo’s high-re­li­a­bil­ity/ cost-ef­fi­cient ap­proach. The im­plicit re­quire­ment for greater UK con­tent also suits Talgo’s man­u­fac­tur­ing phi­los­o­phy.”

The com­pany is 53% owned by pri­vate in­vestors, in­clud­ing com­pany em­ploy­ees and mem­bers of the found­ing fam­ily, while 35% is owned by a UK listed pri­vate eq­uity fund work­ing on be­half of UK pen­sion funds.

RICHARD CLIN­NICK.

Ahead of an an­nounce­ment on the fi­nal lo­ca­tion for a UK fac­tory, Span­ish com­pany Talgo launched a six-lo­ca­tion short­list on Oc­to­ber 9/10. The com­pany has two fac­to­ries in Spain that have so far sup­plied trains to 28 coun­tries. On Oc­to­ber 11 2017, ve­hi­cles for Saudi Ara­bian Very High Speed Trains stand in the yard at Talgo’s Las Matas head­quar­ters, near Madrid.

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