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East Midlands Chamber News

New train factory could create thousands of jobs

Chesterfield is among six shortlisted locations that could become the base for a new UK factory for Spanish train manufacturer Talgo, creating thousands of jobs.

If the borough’s bid is successful, the former Hartington Colliery site, between Staveley and Barrow Hill, would become home to a factory which would create 1,000 high quality jobs.

Talgo will build a UK factory if it receives an initial order for new trains which could include a £2.75bn worth of rolling stock for HS2.

The plant would also create an estimated 4,000 supply chain jobs as well as apprenticeship, training and educational opportunities.

The Spanish rail giant has confirmed that Chesterfield is one of six UK locations it is considering. A  decision is expected next month.

The company intends to adopt a ‘true manufacturing’ approach, which would also see it source component parts from within the UK.

Chesterfield Borough Council has been working with a range of partners, including landowners Suon on the bid to encourage Talgo to locate the factory in the borough.

Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and if our bid is successful it would be a massive boost to our economy in terms of employment opportunities for local people.

“Talgo’s commitment to a ‘true manufacturing’ approach would also create more opportunities for local businesses to supply components as part of the supply chain, which would help create more jobs and increase the positive impact on our economy.

“Talgo is a major player in the worldwide rail sector and one of the companies that HS2 has shortlisted to provide it with the high speed trains needed for the new rail network.

“It is important to stress that we are only one of six shortlisted locations at the moment. No decision has been made so it is important that expectations are not raised at this stage.

“However, a huge amount of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to make the case for Talgo’s UK factory to be located in Chesterfield borough and we think we have a really strong bid.”

The bid highlights:

  • That remediation work is already underway to prepare the former Hartington Colliery site for development
  • Chesterfield’s location at the heart of both the existing rail network and the planned phase 2B of the HS2 rail network, which will see Chesterfield have an HS2 station and also an HS2 line maintenance depot at Staveley
  • Chesterfield’s excellent transport connectivity, with over 23 million people living within two hours’ drive, and four major airports and four sea ports within 90 minutes travel time
  • That an investment would create further regeneration and development opportunities related to HS2, as well as support the existing Staveley Works corridor development plans for 1,000 new homes, a new primary school and £50m access road
  • The ability to offer Talgo access to the area’s world class rail supply chain and a highly skilled workforce.

If successful, building work could start in July 2020, ready for the train factory to open in December 2021. A new £9m innovation and training centre is also planned to be built at Barrow Hill Engine Shed for Talgo to use to showcase its technologies.

Even if the bid is not successful Councillor Gilby hopes the connections and close working with partners on the bid will pave the way for other large scale industrial uses of the former colliery site.

Councillor Gilby added: “The factory would support the wider regeneration of the former Staveley Works site area as part of our partnership working with landowners and Derbyshire County Council.

“Putting together the bid has really helped develop relationships with a range of partners, including the universities of Derby and Newcastle, Chesterfield College, Barrow Hill Engine Shed and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham.

“While we hope that this close working will persuade Talgo that the Staveley site is the right location for a UK train factory it also means that if we are not successful we have a good platform to attract other development opportunities.”

Scott Knowles, Chief Executive at the Chamber, said: “Derbyshire has a long and successful association with the rail industry and already stands to capitalise on future developments.

“HS2, in particular, is the single largest investment in rail in the UK since the Victorian era and will create jobs during construction and beyond that will benefit not just Europe’s biggest rail firms cluster in Derby but also the area around Toton with the station hub and Chesterfield from the planned maintenance depot at Staveley and, now, possibly the Talgo train factory too.

“Talgo is a family-run business, committed to building a factory in the UK adopting total manufacturing principles that would create local supply chains and jobs for future generations. Investment on this scale would be transformative for Chesterfield.”