REPORT MAY HELP MANUFACTURERS PLAN AHEAD
DERBY train-maker Bombardier is close to signing a deal worth an estimated £120 million to supply carriages to Transport for London.
The contract would be welcomed at Litchurch Lane – but Bombardier says this deal alone would not be enough to guarantee the long-term future of the factory.
What Bombardier, and train manufacturers, seek is more information about the rolling stock needs of the nation over the next couple of decades, rather than the next couple of years.
This would help them to plan ahead and avoid peaks and troughs in their order books.
But a report is due to come out, possibly as early as Monday, that could give them that information.
Eurostar chief executive Richard Brown, a speaker at yesterday's conference, has been chairing a group that has devised a long term rolling stock strategy.
Mr Brown, who lives in Derby, said: "Since privatisation, over the past 20 years, the number of people using the railways has risen by 91%. Yet the nation's train fleet has only grown 12%.
"As a result, our trains are more crowded than ever before. In many ways, we have become a victim of our own success.
"We have produced forecasts into the needs of the passenger fleet going forward. We hope this will be of great value to the train manufacturers. It will also include specifications, which will help these firms in terms of research and development."
During a question and answer session with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, Andy Derbyshire, senior director of operations of Bombardier's Derby site, asked what the Government was doing to make manufacturers more aware of projects in the pipeline.
Mr McLoughlin said: "We do need to signpost more our infrastructure spend but I don't think we should be beating ourselves over the head.
"Look at the Olympics and the revamp of St Pancras. These were both massive projects. They show that we are getting better at it."