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Potential up to 2,000 job losses at Alstom Derby

Snow1964

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Derby Telegraph is reporting, lack of work, especially with HS2 delays is potentially going to see upto 2000 redundancies at Alstom Derby


Knock-on effects from delays to the building of the HS2 train line could mean that staff at major Derby employer Alstom (formerly Bombardier) are under threat. Two thousand people are employed at Alstom's Litchurch Lane Works between Osmaston Road and London Road in the city - but nearly all of them could lose their jobs by the end of the year, according to reports.

Currently, staff are working on contracts which include the construction of a monorail for Egypt's capital city Cairo. But this, and other contracts, are set to finish in the next six months.

Trains for HS2 are set to be built at the Alstom site. But while this work may have started in 2024 if everything was on schedule, delays in the construction of the train line and tracks mean that the manufacturing in Derby has been pushed back to 2026.

In addition, other contracts to secure work for the Alstom workforce in Derby have been scarce. It means that as it stands, there will be no significant work to offer Alstom's 2,000 Derby employees from the start of next year.

READ MORE: City factory working on 'production gap' that threatens 2,000 jobs

The Times reports that Alstom is "looking at plans to reduce the workforce after lack of assurances from ministers". Alstom's website does not make any indication of the potential to cut jobs but the Times reported that the company had said: “Derby is very important to Alstom and to the UK rail sector. It is the only UK factory that can design, engineer, build and test trains for domestic and export markets.”

The BBC and Times suggesting could be upto 17,000 jobs in whole supply chain

Derby City Council is seeking talks with train builder Alstom over reports it could be about to lay off workers

The firm's Litchurch Lane site is the only UK train factory able to design, build, engineer and test trains for domestic and export markets.
About 2,000 people work at the factory but the firm says its current order book only runs until early 2024.
The council said it was "shocked" to see reports of potential job losses and wanted to give any support it could.
Newspaper reports said the company had been relying on existing orders from HS2 but as these have been pushed back it was now looking to reduce its workforce.
It is estimated, as well as the core jobs, the factory also supports 1,400 supply chain companies employing about 17,000 people.

 
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fgwrich

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The problem is, this was always going to happen somewhere down the pipeline - it’s the boom and bust nature of the business.

Derby has been busy (and lucky) to have a very large order books over the recent years from the Turbostar families, to the Electrostar families, to the London Underground contacts, then Aventra’s and eventually HS2. With the Aventra family now nearly completed, redundancies were always going to happen.

It perhaps also hasn’t helped Alstom that we now have CAF, Hitachi and Siemens also assembling in the UK, a government with a lack of ambition (particularly with regards to electrification) and the somewhat undesirable reliability of the Aventra fleets so far (eg XR 345 & SWR 701) which I’d have thought quite likely, to give anyone smart enough cold feet for the time being on any further orders.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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"Derby is ... the largest Alstom production facility in the world". Can this be true?
I would have expected sites in Germany and France to be bigger.

Good luck with Alstom winning the sort of bi-mode and battery-powered tenders that are being discussed now, against competitors like Stadler and Hitachi.
Hitachi would probably also quibble with the assertion that Derby is the only "full service" plant in the UK.

Hitachi, Siemens, CAF and Stadler have also demonstrated they can deliver complete trains for the UK from abroad.

Even if built in Derby, Alstom would import significant components from abroad.
 
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Elecman

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It’s the start of pressure to be given new orders or the kitten gets it!! The other manufacturers will play the same game soon
 

RailWonderer

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Unless they start building DMUs or battery units or bi-modes, sticking only to EMUs will cost them. it's time for them to review that bi-mode Aventra and make it more flexible and competitive for when the DfT want to (or need to by forced hands) place a new order. For foreign orders they are at the behest of what the head office in France decides to give them.

Unrelated but how are they testing the monorail, is there a track for them at Derby?
 

dgl

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I would have thought that they would have guaranteed work for years to come, fixing the stuff they've built!
I suppose the issue now is that they are not the only assembler in town so playing the "British trains" card is no longer as effective. Even more so if Siemens in Goole show everyone else that quality trains can be built in Britain and people decide Bombardier/Alstom are not worth the risk.
 

Chester1

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Unless they start building DMUs or battery units or bi-modes, sticking only to EMUs will cost them. it's time for them to review that bi-mode Aventra and make it more flexible and competitive for when the DfT want to (or need to by forced hands) place a new order. For foreign orders they are at the behest of what the head office in France decides to give them.

Unrelated but how are they testing the monorail, is there a track for them at Derby?

There is the tender for 450 bi mode units led by Northern. I can't think of any likely new EMU orders in the next year or two. We already have 30 x 379s in storage.

I would have thought that they would have guaranteed work for years to come, fixing the stuff they've built!
I suppose the issue now is that they are not the only assembler in town so playing the "British trains" card is no longer as effective. Even more so if Siemens in Goole show everyone else that quality trains can be built in Britain and people decide Bombardier/Alstom are not worth the risk.

Closing the factory would mean ditching the HS2 order because of the social benefit requirements of the contract. Alstom will give enough Derby just enough export work to keep the factory open at a reduced level until the HS2 work starts.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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There is the tender for 450 bi mode units led by Northern. I can't think of any likely new EMU orders in the next year or two. We already have 30 x 379s in storage.
Fictional order to dangle a carrot to suppliers i suspect.

Remember in addition to 379's there will be stash of 350's idled as a result of 730's and then GA say they have 30x720's over need and if SWR do rebuild rest of 458 fleet wont need all those 701's either. So plenty of EMUs with no home and no immediate electrification in the offering for them to run under either. Sad reality is the order book is substantially reduced for another 5 years i would suggest but at least Derby has Rolls Royce Aero Engines who have a very healthy order book.
 

43096

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Of course, Derby don't help themselves by building utter dross. The Aventra has been terrible for faults before and after entry to service, long delays to service entry and that's before you get to the poor ride and build quality.

Mind you, CAF and Hitachi's products are of similarly low standard...

This is all entirely predictable after the dash for new assembly sites over here for what was only ever going to be a boom before bust scenario. Stadler were the smart ones by not joining the rush.
 

fgwrich

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Of course, Derby don't help themselves by building utter dross. The Aventra has been terrible for faults before and after entry to service, long delays to service entry and that's before you get to the poor ride and build quality.

Mind you, CAF and Hitachi's products are of similarly low standard...

This is all entirely predictable after the dash for new assembly sites over here for what was only ever going to be a boom before bust scenario. Stadler were the smart ones by not joining the rush.
It wasn't just the Aventra fleet suffering Derby's somewhat below par build quality either - most if not all of the S Stock had to go back, and wasn't their issues with the Victoria Line 09 Stock too?

Hitachi seems to be a more unusual one - unusual in the sense that they don't seem to see the issues with their product, preferring to blame the customer / track quality instead.
 

Snow1964

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Out of curiosity have Aventras been offered with battery or DMU?
Alstom is building Battery EMUs and DMUs in other European plants, but they weren't based on the ex Bombardier Aventra platform.

So in theory they could use the tried and trusted parts from a European BEMU, but whether they could add software to work it on Aventra platform is a big ask. Alstom would probably only be interested in decent size Coradia and X'trapolis platform orders, not more troublesome Aventra orders to a revised spec

The problem is if orders run out early 2024, and HS2 fleet is not until 2026 then need something which can be built quickly, and if starting production in few months, don't want some untested design that needs retooling.

If it happens, 4 extra Elizabeth line trains and possibly some extra Cairo (or elsewhere) monorail (innovia based platform) is not 2 years work.
 
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Dan G

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It's a shame for the staff but if Alstom fail to provide a product answering the current market needs...

I'd be interested to know how they intend to build the HS2 stock if they do let their staff go. They won't be able to get them back; they'll have moved on to other jobs by 2026.

Probably a better option would be to negotiate with government an earlier start on the stock with a lower build rate.
 

Nicholas Lewis

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Alstom is building Battery EMUs and DMUs in other European plants, but they weren't based on the ex Bombardier Aventra platform.

So in theory they could use the tried and trusted parts from a European BEMU, but whether they could add software to work it on Aventra platform is a big ask. Alstom would probably only be interested in decent size Coradia and X'trapolis platform orders, not more troublesome Aventra orders to a revised spec

The problem is if orders run out early 2024, and HS2 fleet is not until 2026 then need something which can be built quickly, and if starting production in few months, don't want some untested design that needs retooling.

If it happens, 4 extra Elizabeth line trains and possibly some extra Cairo (or elsewhere) monorail (innovia based platform) is not 2 years work.
Good point about 345's they need to be ordered pronto its only firm UK requirement mind you perhaps they will do a SWT approach and cannibalise the 720's!
 

QSK19

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it's time for them to review that bi-mode Aventra and make it more flexible and competitive for when the DfT want to (or need to by forced hands) place a new order.
From what I seem to remember reading somewhere, apparently a bi-mode Aventra was offered to EMR for the Intercity fleet replacement. But, it was all too easy to award the order to the manufacturer with an effective monopoly over IC stock.

Problems with the Aventra aside, can’t help but think that awarding the Intercity contract to anybody else other than Hitachi would have shaken things up.

Out of curiosity have Aventras been offered with battery or DMU?
Had Alstom been awarded EMR’s Intercity contract, the battery solution could have been retrofitted later on in their lives to replace the diesel engines.
 

Mikey C

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From what I seem to remember reading somewhere, apparently a bi-mode Aventra was offered to EMR for the Intercity fleet replacement. But, it was all too easy to award the order to the manufacturer with an effective monopoly over IC stock.

Problems with the Aventra aside, can’t help but think that awarding the Intercity contract to anybody else other than Hitachi would have shaken things up.


Had Alstom been awarded EMR’s Intercity contract, the battery solution could have been retrofitted later on in their lives to replace the diesel engines.
But then it would have been Hitachi with the order gap before HS2...
 

fgwrich

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From what I seem to remember reading somewhere, apparently a bi-mode Aventra was offered to EMR for the Intercity fleet replacement. But, it was all too easy to award the order to the manufacturer with an effective monopoly over IC stock.

Problems with the Aventra aside, can’t help but think that awarding the Intercity contract to anybody else other than Hitachi would have shaken things up.


Had Alstom been awarded EMR’s Intercity contract, the battery solution could have been retrofitted later on in their lives to replace the diesel engines.
Of course the other problem with an Intercity Aventra was the same problem Siemens had with the intercity Desiro replacement - an untried, unbuilt and therefore untested train. Something that I think others had been aware of Derby’s over promising for a while.

But then it would have been Hitachi with the order gap before HS2...
Indeed. I remember a group of North East MPs shouting quite loudly about Hitachis large sticker application factory…
 

Goldfish62

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Derby Telegraph is reporting, lack of work, especially with HS2 delays is potentially going to see upto 2000 redundancies at Alstom Derby

Entirely predictable.

Which will be the UK's first train manufacturing facility to close due to lack of orders, I wonder.
 

QSK19

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Of course the other problem with an Intercity Aventra was the same problem Siemens had with the intercity Desiro replacement - an untried, unbuilt and therefore untested train. Something that I think others had been aware of Derby’s over promising for a while.
Good point. A major advantage of going for the AT300 - it’s a tried and tested model, although the 810 is viewed as a brand new product due to the heavy modifications compared to the 8xx. I wasn’t suggesting proceeding with the Aventra specifically, more that it would have prevented Hitachi from becoming complacent and taking IC orders for granted.

But then it would have been Hitachi with the order gap before HS2...
Again, good point - the problem would be at Newton Aycliffe and not Derby. Either way, somewhere was going to lose out and, in this case, it happens to be Derby. But, as I say above, it would have shaken things up a bit in the IC market.
 

SCDR_WMR

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Entirely predictable.

Which will be the UK's first train manufacturing facility to close due to lack of orders, I wonder.
It's entirely possible that this is just Alstom trying to put pressure on the government to commit/make payment in the interim. Would they really be starting to make trains, even proof of design, yet anyway?
 

Mikey C

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Good point. A major advantage of going for the AT300 - it’s a tried and tested model, although the 810 is viewed as a brand new product due to the heavy modifications compared to the 8xx. I wasn’t suggesting proceeding with the Aventra specifically, more that it would have prevented Hitachi from becoming complacent and taking IC orders for granted.
The 810 is far less of a change from the "original" 80x than a bimode Aventra would be. Unlike the previous generation, Derby doesn't even have experience of producing a DMU on the same platform, never mind a bimode...
 

Meerkat

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If they could just get the 701s working then get link their political pressure up with the Kent and SE London politicians to demand new trains for South Eastern. If they were the starter for a new order are the SWR excess 701s any use to SouthEastern Metro?
 

RailWonderer

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There is the tender for 450 bi mode units led by Northern. I can't think of any likely new EMU orders in the next year or two. We already have 30 x 379s in storage.
Most tenders don’t lead to orders plus doesn’t mean Derby will win it (unless govt wants to save the jobs and nothing else is being ordered). I hope we see more Siemens and Stadler mainline orders personally.
 

Chester1

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Most tenders don’t lead to orders plus doesn’t mean Derby will win it (unless govt wants to save the jobs and nothing else is being ordered). I hope we see more Siemens and Stadler mainline orders personally.

The Northern tender has a high likelihood of becoming an order simply because the sprinters are getting close to being life expired. They all need go over the next 4 to 10 years. Alstom would have a decent chance. I can't see Stadler meeting social benefit requirements that will inevitably be used to make sure the units are manufactured in the UK. It will be Alstom, Hitachi, CAF or Siemens.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Hitachi/Alstom will have been working on the design of HS2 trains for nearly two years, since initial contract award in Dec 2021.
Presumably some of that will be funded by DfT as part of the development contract.
Production of the first train for testing was due in 2027.
Until the design is finalised (which is due in 2024) and a production and financing contract agreed, there will be no assembly work for either factory.
There's clearly no point in building trains much before HS2 is open for testing.
 

Russel

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I didn't know, until reading this thread that the HS2 fleet will be produced in Derby...

That prospect doesn't fill me confidence.
 

QSK19

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The Northern tender has a high likelihood of becoming an order simply because the sprinters are getting close to being life expired. They all need go over the next 4 to 10 years. Alstom would have a decent chance. I can't see Stadler meeting social benefit requirements that will inevitably be used to make sure the units are manufactured in the UK. It will be Alstom, Hitachi, CAF or Siemens.
Surely got to add to that other 15x units at other TOCs (EMR, GWR and SWR), not just the ones at Northern? Makes little sense replacing the Northern ones and none of the others - beneficial to replace them all in one go.
 

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