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East Midlands Chamber News

£1.6bn train contract goes to German firm

A £1.6bn contract to build trains for Thameslink has been awarded to a German company.

Derby-based train builder Bombardier had put in a bid for the work but Ministers have confirmed the contract has been won by Siemens.

It will be another ten days before all the paperwork is completed, according to the Daily Telegraph, but it's rare that contract decisions are reversed during this statutory 'cooling off period' between agreement and final signatures.

The contract is for supply of 1,140 new carriages for the Thameslink line, one of the country’s busiest commuter routes, which runs north to south through London.

Bombardier was one of two firms shortlisted for the work.

Ministers had been under mounting pressure to reverse the Government's original decision in 2011 to award the lucrative contract to Siemens.

But at the same time they have been legally obliged to comply with EU procurement directives which outlaw Governments protecting domestic suppliers.

Maria Eagle, Shadow Transport Secretary, told the paper: “Thameslink must be the last public transport procurement not to deliver British jobs and apprenticeships. Instead of ensuring that this £1.6bn contract secured desperately needed opportunities at home, Ministers decided to award this contract to a company that will build these trains in Germany.

"It is inconceivable that any other EU country would have made the same decision, as is clear from the fact that nearly every train for the German and French rail networks is built by their own workforce."