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Siemens Given Thameslink Deal over Bombardier

Thameslink TrainOn Thursday, rail minister Theresa Villiers confirmed an announcement that German train maker Siemens has been named the preferred bidder of one of the largest ever train orders in the UK. This decision was a big blow to Bombardier, the last remaining train factory in the country, and it has raised questions about the long-term future of the company. The companies were bidding for the chance to make trains for the Thameslink programme.

The order is for 1,200 carriages for trains of up to 12 carriages long. They will be operated on the north-south cross-London route starting in 2015. This will be allowed by the £3.5 billion in infrastructure work being done on the route, enabling for faster and more frequent services. This has been one of the most overcrowded routes after British Rail reopened it in the 1980s. After the new trains are introduced, the existing trains will be sent to other places in the UK. They may provide services on routes in north-west England and London Paddington.

Villiers said that the announcement is a major step for Thameslink and will make life better for the thousands of people who use these services to commute to work. This is also further proof that the government is committed to investing in the nation’s future. The new trains will be built at German factories, but she insists that the contract will create as many as 2,000 jobs in the UK – this will include 650 people for building 2 new depots and 600 to manufacture components.

She went on to say that she recognises that many people will be disappointed that Bombardier hasn’t been chosen to take on this order. However, they carefully considered all the numbers, and Siemens offered the better deal for taxpayers.

Siemens managing director for rolling stock in Britain, Steve Scrimshaw said that the company is delighted to be named the preferred bidder for this project. The company’s selection is a great achievement – not just for the rolling stock teams in the UK and Germany, but for the firm overall.

This is the second big victory for Siemens in the past year in the UK. The company was able to win an order from Eurostar worth €600 million. Also, it has supplied all new trains for South West Trains, the busiest rail franchise in the country, over the last decade. Most recently it delivered a new electric train fleet for services in Scotland.

On the other side of things, Bombardier says it’s disappointed and will seek a debriefing from the Department for Transport (DfT). Meanwhile, Unite, the union which represents the manufacturer’s workers, says the decision is a blow for the manufacturing sector. This decision is disgraceful, it added, as it doesn’t have British job creation and manufacturing as the focal point.

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