Alstom get EU approval to buy Bombardier and will soon own Derby...

Energy

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I would imagine that Derby will stay, the UK can support at least 1 train factory , if Derby has a shortage of orders then it is likely Hitachi have a shortage and I think Hitachi would leave pretty quick if the orders dried up. Hitachi is only an assembly site and the way it is built is so that it can be quickly built but also quickly taken down again.
 
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CTS1990

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Alstom has kept the factories it took over in Germany (Salzgitter being the main example, taken over from LHB), so I don’t see why they wouldn’t keep Derby.
I sense that may be because Germany’s productivity levels are far superior to the UK’s. It’s probably worth it for Alstom to retain manufacturing plant(s) in Germany because it is the industrial heart of the EU and a lucrative market if they can secure orders from DB over Siemens.
 

TRAX

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I sense that may be because Germany’s productivity levels are far superior to the UK’s. It’s probably worth it for Alstom to retain manufacturing plant(s) in Germany because it is the industrial heart of the EU and a lucrative market if they can secure orders from DB over Siemens.
You are quite right. May I also add that the Salzgitter factory is also suitably located to serve other Central European markets like the Netherlands, which it does.
 

RailWonderer

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You have a lot more faith in Alstom than I do! After the GEC merger in 1989, they began to move production away from the UK to France. It makes business sense for them, no doubt, to concentrate their production lines ‘at home’ rather than bank rolling plants abroad. However, surely you accept that many manufacturing jobs in the UK were lost because of this? No UK government in decades ever stepped in to to save jobs such as these.

It’s interesting you champion the efficiency of the free market, whilst I see this as an obsession that leads to job cuts and plant closures. Again, see my initial comments; how many comparable economies to the UK own so little of their own infrastructure?

This country is little more than a ‘supermarket’ for multinationals like Alstom and others to cherry pick assets and dispose of others. It’s happened so many times before in the last three decades; your confidence in Litchurch Lane remaining open is sadly too optimistic. I would expect closure to be on the cards in the mid 2020s or so, after the current order book runs out.

Why would a French company subsidise one plant in the UK when it has extensive manufacturing sites in France? If the Aventra stock and its successor platforms are successful, and maybe exportable, they won’t remain in Derby by the 2030s.

This is all just my opinion anyway, always happy to have a good debate about these kind of things and listen to other people’s views such as yours. I’m heading into university research on UK industrial policy, so the Alstom takeover of Bombardier is going to be a large case study for me to look into properly. However, I’m also dreading it too...
UK industrial policy has, like all democratic countries behavior, been flavor of the day. Thatcher pretended anything outside the south east did not exist so factory workers, industrial plants etc. were all neglected and forgotten around the 80s into the early 90s.
The only thing the govt could do to step in and save Litchcurch lane would be for the DfT to order something, even small, would be fine - it is the UK's only full production and assembly plant, which has always been sustained. Bombardier would also have to offer the right product, not another generic EMU.
There are too many countries which could easily opt for a cheaper overseas alternative. Alstom's decision was to save European workers for the good of the western economies (but themselves above all else) as a protection against overseas competition decimating more jobs than what may be lost under this new circumstance.
You are probably more realistic than I am - given the need for new rolling stock is based on demand for capacity and the cost of leasing, demand could dry up fast and for a while.

Speculative idea here: Using a spur from Derby to East Midlands hub, and a connecting spur from HS2 to HS1, it would be possible to get European gauge trains out of Litchchurch Lane onto the continent without having to use roads and ships - making the factory potentially able to produce European spec rolling stock, potentially being able to save the plant if it could produce rolling stock for other countries.
 

squizzler

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It was always said that with the recent new entrants to UK train building scene, there would be an over provision of sites, so the closure of a few when circumstances allow is only to be expected. Better in a way that redundant factories are would down in an orderly way rather than simply because the work is dried up.

I don't think Alstom will want to close Derby because it is located amongst an industrial cluster of engineering industries, and I am sure an engineering conglomerate like Alstom will be all too aware of the benefits of having such a pool of skills and technology to draw upon.
 

CTS1990

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UK industrial policy has, like all democratic countries behavior, been flavor of the day. Thatcher pretended anything outside the south east did not exist so factory workers, industrial plants etc. were all neglected and forgotten around the 80s into the early 90s.
The only thing the govt could do to step in and save Litchcurch lane would be for the DfT to order something, even small, would be fine - it is the UK's only full production and assembly plant, which has always been sustained. Bombardier would also have to offer the right product, not another generic EMU.
There are too many countries which could easily opt for a cheaper overseas alternative. Alstom's decision was to save European workers for the good of the western economies (but themselves above all else) as a protection against overseas competition decimating more jobs than what may be lost under this new circumstance.
You are probably more realistic than I am - given the need for new rolling stock is based on demand for capacity and the cost of leasing, demand could dry up fast and for a while.

Speculative idea here: Using a spur from Derby to East Midlands hub, and a connecting spur from HS2 to HS1, it would be possible to get European gauge trains out of Litchchurch Lane onto the continent without having to use roads and ships - making the factory potentially able to produce European spec rolling stock, potentially being able to save the plant if it could produce rolling stock for other countries.
I agree with your evaluation of Thatcherism in the sense that it tilted the whole UK economy towards service sectors based in London and the South East. The UK’s economy is probably the most volatile of all postindustrial countries because of the London bubble. That certainly is a direct effect of 1980s Tory policies, continued by every government since then.

I don’t think Alstom is necessarily interested in securing jobs across Europe, least of all in the UK. The British market is an ‘open goal’ for Alstom because it is more liberalised than other comparable economies. The French economy is much more protectionist, so Alstom gets the best of both worlds - influencing the French domestic market as well as its interests abroad. Alstom knows SNCF would never look elsewhere for new rolling stock whilst also securing orders in other countries (UK, Germany etc).

The UK doesn’t even benefit from many reciprocal trade agreements with France either. How many Air France aircraft are powered by Rolls Royce Trent engines? Would the French government purchase Range Rovers to transport their officials? It’s a ‘one way’ street, I’m afraid...

I do like your idea of a spur though! The UK government should be pursuing innovate ideas like that to maintain a British competitive edge in Europe for the future.
 

TRAX

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The UK doesn’t even benefit from many reciprocal trade agreements with France either. How many Air France aircraft are powered by Rolls Royce Trent engines? Would the French government purchase Range Rovers to transport their officials? It’s a ‘one way’ street, I’m afraid..
Not sure I’ve ever seen the Queen’s arse sat in a Peugeot either. ;)
 

Energy

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How many Air France aircraft are powered by Rolls Royce Trent engines?
Their new a350s will have RR engines but RR is the only choice available for a350s. But Air France doesn't buy french engines, they buy from GE and Pratt & Whitney which are both American. They just prefer GE engines and try to have their aircraft have similar engines for easier maintanence, it isn't because RR are British.
 

37424

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I suspect Derby is doomed in a few years time along with Vauxhall I wouldn't trust the French when comes to UK plants they don't have a good record. If Hitachi go on to win the what was the joint bid for HS2 I guess that will be tough deal for Derby, if Alstom win it will they even build them at Derby?
 

TRAX

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An Electricity generator and supplier isn't really the same thing as a Manufacturer that can easily relocate plants and production.
You are quite right, but they still could’ve sold to another supplier
 

CTS1990

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I suspect Derby is doomed in a few years time along with Vauxhall I wouldn't trust the French when comes to UK plants they don't have a good record. If Hitachi go on to win the what was the joint bid for HS2 I guess that will be tough deal for Derby, if Alstom win it will they even build them at Derby?
Yes, the future is sadly very uncertain for Litchurch Lane and Luton! :(

Aside from Covid, we don’t know how a Brexit deal (or lack of) may hasten their eventual closure.
 

37424

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Yes, the future is sadly very uncertain for Litchurch Lane and Luton! :(

Aside from Covid, we don’t know how a Brexit deal (or lack of) may hasten their eventual closure.
Indeed although I think Ellesmere Port is in the most immediate danger rather than Luton.

Anyway getting back to the point given some confusion over what is being said over the HS2 bid I guess it could be that Hitachi will take over the bid but in the event of winning it Alstom Derby will still get some of the work effectively sub contracted from Hitachi.
 

hwl

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Indeed although I think Ellesmere Port is in the most immediate danger rather than Luton.

Anyway getting back to the point given some confusion over what is being said over the HS2 bid I guess it could be that Hitachi will take over the bid but in the event of winning it Alstom Derby will still get some of the work effectively sub contracted from Hitachi.
Precisely, the HS2 order is too big for NA alone given the UK content (or proxy measures e.g. numbers of apprenticeships)
 

43096

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Goodbye Derby if the way French manage foreign takeovers goes the usual way.
Those who read Modern Railways should see Informed Sources in the August issue. The "Informed Sources" laws have been (re-)published. Number 6: "Don't engage in joint ventures with the French".
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Alstom knows SNCF would never look elsewhere for new rolling stock whilst also securing orders in other countries (UK, Germany etc).
SNCF has recently bought a fleet of regional trains from CAF, which includes some assembly in the south west of France.
FRANCE: The SNCF Mobilités board has formally approved the selection of CAF to supply the railway’s next generation of inter-city trainsets, designated as Confort 200.
They also used Eurostars for some domestic services, which have UK components (electrics particularly).
By 2023, SNCF's monopoly on train purchases will end, and the TERs will be able to choose their own rolling stock.

CAF also doesn't seem to find the gauge issue a problem with exporting trains to the UK.

All French Airbus planes have British (Welsh) wings, like all the rest.
 

43096

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Washwood Heath closed down due to shoddy trains

If the Junipers had been any good, SWT no doubt would have standardised on them and Siemens might never have got their foothold in the UK
It was shoddy support for the trains, not the trains themselves, as evidenced by the reliability SWT got from the 458s once Alstom were no longer involved. It dates back to Alstom's financial difficulties in the early 2000s and their need/desire to cut costs. The same lack of support was what limited the VP185 engine when it was under Alstom ownership.
 

Goldfish62

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It was shoddy support for the trains, not the trains themselves, as evidenced by the reliability SWT got from the 458s once Alstom were no longer involved. It dates back to Alstom's financial difficulties in the early 2000s and their need/desire to cut costs. The same lack of support was what limited the VP185 engine when it was under Alstom ownership.
The build quality was pretty atrocious as well, eg leaking cabs, poorly fitting and lose internal panels, etc.
 

43096

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The build quality was pretty atrocious as well, eg leaking cabs, poorly fitting and lose internal panels, etc.
That's down to management and quality control. Pendolinos exhibit the same "quality".

But if you ask SWT drivers they will tell you how good the brakes are and the engineers will tell you the Onix traction system is superior to the Siemens effort on the Desiros. But Onix is English Electric lineage and that would never do for the grande fromages in Paris...
 

43096

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Do you have any evidence to back that claim ? I’m interested.
I have seen it posted elsewhere, but can't remember where (and didn't save a link). The kit for the Junipers was Preston build (as I understand it) which would tend to support the EE descendant.
 

CTS1990

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SNCF has recently bought a fleet of regional trains from CAF, which includes some assembly in the south west of France.


They also used Eurostars for some domestic services, which have UK components (electrics particularly).
By 2023, SNCF's monopoly on train purchases will end, and the TERs will be able to choose their own rolling stock.

CAF also doesn't seem to find the gauge issue a problem with exporting trains to the UK.

All French Airbus planes have British (Welsh) wings, like all the rest.
It remains to be seen how far other manufacturers can penetrate the French market, I suppose. That is going to be interesting to monitor.

My overall point is not to simply ‘bash’ Alstom for the sake of it, but to point out how lacking in competitiveness British industry is compared to neighbouring, similar sized economies.
 

SHD

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Grands Fromages? Nay, the expression you are looking for is grandes huiles (literally big oils, I know, it sounds absurd).

In France, ONIX was introduced in 1992 on the last batch of TFS tramways built for Grenoble and Paris.

The thread you are referencing is probably the following:

It reads like a more nuanced history than “the French pillaged English electric heritage”, does it not?
 

LNW-GW Joint

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What did the Class 373 Eurostars use then ("TMST")?
I was under the impression that there was significant GEC content in the traction system (the "clever bits" as Roger Ford said).
That project began as a consortium involving several suppliers before GEC Alsthom was formed.
 

TRAX

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It remains to be seen how far other manufacturers can penetrate the French market, I suppose. That is going to be interesting to monitor.

My overall point is not to simply ‘bash’ Alstom for the sake of it, but to point out how lacking in competitiveness British industry is compared to neighbouring, similar sized economies.
CAF is not really new in the French market. The factory is already there and has manufactured a few special vehicles and trams. CAF bought it from CFD.
 

Gag Halfrunt

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What did the Class 373 Eurostars use then ("TMST")?
I was under the impression that there was significant GEC content in the traction system (the "clever bits" as Roger Ford said).
That project began as a consortium involving several suppliers before GEC Alsthom was formed.
Detailed answer in this post.

The close working relationships formed on the Eurostar project led directly to the creation of the GEC Alsthom joint venture in the early 1990s. Several years later one of the other major TMST partners, ACEC in Belgium, were taken over by GEC Alstom as the European rail industry consolidated to face the challenge of competition from the Far East (Japan and Korea at this time).
 

Mikey C

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I sense that may be because Germany’s productivity levels are far superior to the UK’s. It’s probably worth it for Alstom to retain manufacturing plant(s) in Germany because it is the industrial heart of the EU and a lucrative market if they can secure orders from DB over Siemens.
Surely a UK plant and UK expertise are far more useful, seeing that the UK railway has many unique aspects which make local knowledge useful. It's also a very big market, the UK has bought a lot of trains in the last 20 years.

AND the UK is becoming less laissez-faire too when it comes to local jobs, it's no coincidence that CAF have opened a UK factory to assemble trains, Siemens are building one to built the new Tube stock while Talgo are investigating UK assembly too
 

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