New train factory
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.
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.