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Train maker says 1,300 manufacturing jobs at risk

Alstom
Alstom says it has begun standing down its manufacturing operations [BBC]

The UK's largest rail assembly factory has confirmed it is resuming a redundancy process for 1,300 permanent staff members.

Derby train builder Alstom has given formal notice to the government that it has started mothballing its Litchurch Lane factory.

The manufacturer said having "no meaningful workload" until at least the middle of 2026 was "totally unsustainable".

Transport Secretary Mark Harper encouraged Alstom to continue to invest in the site, while union Unite warned it could be "the end of UK rail manufacturing as we know it".

Mark Harper
Transport Secretary Mark Harper says Alstom have "previously been successful in securing an export order" from their Derby site [PA Media]

In a letter to Mr Harper, first reported by the Times and confirmed by the BBC, Nick Crossfield, Alstom UK’s managing director, said the company has been left with no choice but to resume the redundancy consultation process.

The letter said: “The ending of train manufacture at Derby Litchurch Lane after 147 years is an outcome we have been working extremely hard to avoid.

"After ten months of inconclusive discussions, we must now begin the arduous and disruptive task of demobilising manufacturing operations at Derby Litchurch Lane.

“A production gap of this scale is totally unsustainable for Alstom and our supply chain to manage.”

On Friday, Mr Harper posted an open letter on X that encouraged Alstom to explore options to build more trains for export, adding that train manufacturing was, "by its nature, cyclical".

The letter said: "Alstom should continue to invest in their Derby site given the confirmed order for HS2 as well as the Cross Country Voyager refurbishment work, and other significant future opportunities including several substantial new rolling stock orders in the market."

'Angry and frustrated'

Paresh Patel, from the union Unite, told the BBC if the redundancies materialised, it could be "the end of UK rail manufacturing as we know it".

He called on both the government and Alstom to put their heads together and stop this.

Mr Patel said: "We're angry. We're frustrated.

"It's going to have a massive impact on not just rail manufacturing across the UK but most fundamentally the Derby community."

Paresh Patel
Paresh Patel says he is "deeply disappointed" by the announcement [BBC]

Mr Patel added: "We're not talking about 1,300 jobs we're talking about 17,000 when you look at factoring in the supply chain.

"This site has a unique capability in design, build and testing of rail and rail carriages.

"If this goes, the likelihood of this ever coming back again to our shores is going to be zero to non-existent."

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