Derby-based train maker Bombadier has been hired by Transport for London (TfL) to supply new carriages for its passenger train network. The £88 million contract expires in 2015, by which time Bombadier is expected to provide 57 new units for the London Overground system.
TfL’s investment may help boost business for the struggling train maker, although the ultimate effects it will have on jobs at Litchurch Lane’s production hub remains unclear. Last year, 1,200 members of staff were laid off. Whether or not the bid will keep more job cuts from happening remains to be seen.
London Overground trains have traditionally been supplied by Bombadier, but TfL contracted Siemens instead for the massive Thameslink Project in 2011. Not only did Bombadier lose out on the opportunity to provide 1,200 carriages for the network, the company also missed a shot at a £1.4 billion contract. The Thameslink Project could have created 1,500 temporary jobs in the UK.
Although Bombadier missed out on a majority of TfL’s new works, Boris Johnson is pleased to put a part of the overground transport link back in the hands of the Derby-based train maker. The mayor of London said: “London Overground has been a truly dazzling success and more and more Londoners are now using the vastly improved service. Not only will these new carriages help us meet passenger demand, but they will also support jobs and growth at their birthplace in Derby.”
Each Bombadier carriage is expected to hold up to 150 passengers. The 57 new carriages will allow TfL to run longer trains in the future, increasing traveller capacity by 25 per cent.
Jonathon Fox, acting director for London Rail, said: “The increased capacity is vital, London’s population is expected to reach nine million by 2018 and the additional carriages will help London’s transport network accommodate the new residents expected to move to the capital.”
Last year, TfL helped 125 million passengers get from A to B – that’s quadruple the amount since the network launched in 2007.