Alstom in intensive talks with the UK government to save its Litchurch Lane rolling stock facility

French multinational rolling stock manufacturer Alstom is in intensive negotiations with the UK government to save its train assembly plant in Derby, according to The Daily Telegraph, among other sources.

The factory at Litchurch Lane is out of work due to an 18-month production gap at the site work and is about to be closed, threatening to lose 3,000 jobs.

New order imminent

“A good, constructive meeting with Alstom Group CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge on the future of train manufacturing in the UK. Intensive discussions are taking place, to conclude no later than the end of May”, UK Transport Minister Mark Harper wrote on social network X.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Harper has even reportedly already agreed to a new order of Aventra trains for the recently inaugurated Elizabeth line of the London Underground. Still, neither Alstom nor the Department for Transport has confirmed this.

A gap in contracted work

If that order came to pass, the future of the famous Litchurch Lane site in the Derby area of northern England, the UK’s largest train factory employing 3,000 people, would also be assured to some extent.

The last order for Derby was completed in March, and the firm was planning to close it due to a gap in contracted work between later this year and 2026 when Alstom will start building trains for the famous HS2.

In March, the factory confirmed it was resuming the redundancy process for 1,300 permanent staff members. If the Derby plant closes, up to 15,000 jobs in the supply chain would also be at risk.

Alstom has also announced that it will operate its own train service in the UK from May 2025 between Wales and London.

Hitachi faces the same problem

Moreover, Hitatchi’s train factory in County Durham is running out of work too, one of the reasons the union Unite has warned it could be “the end of UK rail manufacturing as we know it”. Indeed, the cancellation of the northern section of the HS2 high-speed rail project has cast a dark shadow over the UK train manufacturing sector.

According to the UK government, negotiations are also currently underway with the Japanese company to support train production and staffing in the UK. However, it said Hitachi has no immediate plans to make any major changes to its workforce for the time being.


Ready to join the conversation?

You must be an active subscriber to leave a comment.

Subscribe Today

You Might Also Like