French rail tech company received £5m public cash
FUNDING worth £5m was granted to help develop a rail technology centre currently being built in Widnes.
Minutes for a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority have been published.
One of the items concerned the business case for the transport technology centre which is being constructed in Halebank by French train maker Alstom.
The facility could eventually provide up to 600 jobs and will also offer up to 15,000 days of training each year through an academy.
The item sought up to £5m to be allocated from a Local Growth Fund.
A report to the meeting said: “The Combined Authority is ● satisfied with the appraisal of the full business case and that the scheme offers value for money. Based on the outcome of the independent appraisal of the full business case for Alstom Transport Technology Centre, this report seeks approval of the Combined Authority to grant funding to a total of £5m being made available to the scheme.”
An executive summary from Amion Consulting attached to the report said that a ‘reasonable case exists’ to provide the funding and that the development would support ‘more sustainable’ employment and ‘high value’ jobs.
The meeting’s minutes said that the chair welcomed the report and acknowledged that the proposal would deliver a ‘significant investment’ for the area.
The facility is due to open in May after construction began in October 2015.
The site was visited last month by Halton MP Derek Twigg and Labour candidate for the Liverpool City Region’s metro mayor Steve Rotheram.
The first project that Alstom will deliver at the new site will be re-painting the fleet of 56 Pendolino Class 390 ‘tilting’ trains used by Virgin on the West Coast Main Line and will employ 80 people.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling also said last year that Alstom plans to bid for HS2 contracts from the Widnes facility.
The Alstom rail hub