Saturday 8 February 2014


Bombardier wins £1bn Crossrail deal


Bombardier has won a £1bn contract to provide trains for the London Crossrail project, the government has announced.
The company will provide 65 trains for the Crossrail service, which is set to open in 2018.
The trains will be manufactured and assembled at Bombardier's plant in Derby.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said Bombardier's contract would support 760 manufacturing jobs and 80 apprenticeships.
In total, up to 340 new jobs will be created, said a spokesperson for Bombardier.
The DfT also said that about 74% of the amount spent on the contract would stay in the UK economy.
Canada's Bombardier beat Japan's Hitachi and Spain's CAF to secure the deal.
'Great boost' The Crossrail system is due to run from Maidenhead and Heathrow Airport in the west, to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east.
It will aim to provide faster journey times and up to 24 trains per hour between Paddington and Whitechapel during the peak.

A graphic of Crossrail's stations

Business Secretary Vince Cable said the decision gave the Midlands a "great boost" and represented a "real vote of confidence in British manufacturing".
He said: "The government has been working hard with industry to support the UK rail supply chain to maximise growth opportunities through contracts like this." 

The Crossrail line will feature more than 26 miles of new tunnels under London

'Relief' The government said the network will boost London's rail capacity by 10%.
It also estimated the new service would support 55,000 full-time jobs around the country.
Bombardier lost out to German firm Siemens to build new train carriages for the London-based Thameslink route in 2011.
Unite national officer Julia Long said: "This is great news for the workforce at Bombardier and for Derby.
"After the disastrous handling of the Thameslink contract this news must come as a massive relief for the skilled men and women at Bombardier."
She said the jobs would be "valuable" for young people wanting a future in manufacturing, and that the decision was a "tribute to the skills and dedication of the Derbyshire workforce".
Labour MP for Derby South, Margaret Beckett, said after Thameslink, Bombadier's workers were "very much put on their mettle".
She said: "Everybody was devastated by the Thameslink decision, but they have really got stuck in and proved that they are the right people to have this contract, which I have no doubt they are."
Crossrail is expected to increase London's rail capacity by 10%
Each new train will be 200 metres long and be able to take up to 1,500 passengers. The trains will also be air-conditioned, with linked, walk-through carriages, and provide live travel information.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said the trains would "revolutionise" rail travel in the capital and lead to economic growth in Derby and across the UK.
He said: "With a firm on board to deliver a fleet of 21st century trains and the tunnelling more than halfway complete, we're on track to deliver a truly world-class railway for the capital."
Bombardier has built, or has on order, 60% of the UK's rail fleet. 


As we are aware the main railway line along the South Coast through Dawlish, has featured heavily in the media over the passed few days. The following set of images may focus our minds now how the devastation wreaked by the elements, have now set Network Rail an enormous task to re-connect the now severed line. All the images have been kindly provided courtesy of Network Rail.


Railway lines shut 50 years ago could be reopened in £100million plan to divert trains away from destruction of Dawlish waves

  • Transport Secretary orders 'rigorous review' of alternatives to coastal line
  • Patrick McLoughlin offers the army to help repair track destroyed in storms
  • Labour government rejected idea of reopening lines further inland
  • Southern Railway would add 50 miles to route, Teign Valley route 15 miles
  • Cornwall cut off from the rest of the country, sparking calls for more money
  • West Country MPs criticise £50billion for London-Birmingham HS2 link

A £100million plan to redirect train services in Devon and Cornwall could be revived after huge waves washed the line away.

The government revealed the army could be called in to help repair the track at Dawlish after huge waves demolished the sea wall on the south coast.

But Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin today announced he has ordered a ‘rigorous review’ into alternatives, after the last Labour government rejected the need to reroute the line.

Ministers have ordered an urgent review into alternative rail routes which could include reopening the South Railway or the Teign Valley lines which closed 50 years ago

Ministers have ordered an urgent review into alternative rail routes which could include reopening the South Railway or the Teign Valley lines which closed 50 years ago

MPs demanded to know why £50billion is being spent on the HS2 line linking London to the north of England while services in the south west are at the mercy of the weather.

The destruction of Dawlish's railway line has effectively cut off rail links to Cornwall, with a 200ft stretch of tracks left mangled and hanging over the boiling seas. 

On the seafront huge granite blocks had been ripped out by the force of the crashing waves and gales and 20 homes had to be evacuated and people moved to a leisure centre.

Network Rail has warned the line, built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and popular for its stunning view, could be out of action for weeks.

Labour warned the closures are costing the area millions in lost revenue, with the West Country's crucial tourism industry threatened by the loss of a vital transport link.

Transport Secretary Mr Patrick McLoughlin last night held urgent talks with Network Rail and MPs from Devon and Cornwall.
Troops could be called in to help Network Rail to repair the line to get services moving as soon as possible
Network Rail said both tracks has been severely damaged by the sea, washing away ballast and the foundations on which the track is built
In 2006 the Met Office said one day it would be necessary to replace or move key transport links like the Dawlish line

In the Commons he revealed he had ordered a report into ‘the whole question of the resilience of the South West’.

He told MPs: ‘I am working with Network Rail to see that service is restored as quickly as possible but also to have a more rigorous review of some of the other alternatives which may be available.’

It raises the prospect of two lines closed half a century ago being reopened to carry trains away from the seafront.
Mr McLoughlin has offered the help of the Ministry of Defence to Network Rail to repair the line at Dawlish

In 2006 Labour ministers ruled out the idea of re-routing.

Then-transport minister Derek Twigg said: 'Network Rail recognises the importance of the line and continues to devote considerable resources to maintaining it to an appropriate standard.

'It does not believe that the railway sea defences in Dawlish are likely to fail in the foreseeable future, thanks to the work carried out and the ongoing maintenance and monitoring.'

However at the time the Met Office said: ‘We are obviously going to have to think about one day replacing or moving key transport links like the Dawlish line.'

Now the dramatic destruction of the line means the idea is set to be revisited.

One option is to reopen a 50-mile stretch of the former Southern Railway from Exeter to Newton Abbott which was closed in 1958, which would mean trains no longer stopped at Teignmouth or Dawlish.

Another more costly plan would be to revive the Southern Railway line which links Exeter to Plymouth via the northern edge of Dartmoor.

It would mean there would be no rail services to Dawlish, Teignmouth, Torbay, Totnes or Ivybridge and take trains on a 50-mile detour, adding to journey times.

Both options would be hugely expensive and controversial for those areas which would lose services.

But ministers faced cross-party calls in the Commons for radical action and investment to solve the problem.

Andrew George, Lib Dem MP for St Ives in the far south of Cornwall, said: 'If we are to put proper investment into a resilient service down to Penzance we need to make sure that there is a comparable funding in terms of the kind of money which is being spent on HS2 and other services.’

Former Labour Cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw,  MP for Exeter, demanded to know what Mr McLoughlin is ‘doing to ensure this vital mainline into the South West is reopened as quickly as possible and what he is going to do in the long-term to help ensure that the vulnerability of the line at Dawlish is dealt with’.
Homes overlooking the Dawlish line have been left hanging after the land gave way
The fierce seas ripped a gaping hole in the coastal road, shattering tarmac and ripping holes in the the picturesque properties standing on the sea front, forcing residents to evacuate


The Government has found an extra £30million to help councils deal with the damage caused by the severe weather outbreak.
The money for this year is on top of £100million announced by David Cameron yesterday.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said 42 new flood defence schemes are also planned for 2014-15, as he hailed the Government's £3.1 billion capital investment commitment as the largest by any government.
He told MPs: 'In the short-term, I can announce that the Government will provide an additional £130million for emergency repairs and maintenance, £30million in the current year and £100million next year.
'This will cover costs incurred during the current emergency response and recovery, as well as essential repairs to ensure that defences are maintained.'
However, UKIP leader Nigel Farage called for Britain’s foreign aid budget worth £11billion to be immediately suspended with the money diverted to help areas in the UK devastated by flooding.
The UKIP leader insisted ‘charity begins at home’ and urged the government to step up its response to the colossal damage to homes, businesses, roads and railways.

Mr McLoughlin insisted that he takes his responsibilities to Devon and Cornwall ‘incredibly seriously’.

‘I also would like to certainly point out that over the next five years between 2014 and 2019 NR will be spending £38billion on the existing network.

‘There is not a shortage of understanding from this government as to the very important nature of rail services across the whole country.’

Anne Marie Morris, Tory MP  for the Newton Abbot seat which includes Dawlish, said the line ‘is a vital artery linking the South West to UK and a long term solution to coastal rail flooding must be found now’.

Devon County Council leader John Hart also demanded Government help for the South West following the latest storms.

He said: 'Once again we are cut off from the rest of the country by rail. Now following the storm damage at Dawlish, the rest of the peninsula is also cut off and we don't know when the line will be restored. The region deserves more help. We've been told we just had the wettest January in memory. But that followed the wettest January in memory last year.

'The time has come for the Government to take more action to make sure that Devon and Cornwall don't get cut off for weeks every winter. We need urgently to look at how our rail links can be better protected.’

Network Rail has called in a specialist concrete spraying machine to shore up the damaged section of seafront, with warnings the line could be out of action for up to six weeks.

Patrick Hallgate, head of the Western route, said: 'We absolutely understand the importance of the railway to the south west and will do everything we can to rebuild the railway at Dawlish as quickly and safely as we can.

'After a quieter night’s weather, we have been able to begin delivering machinery to our site compound with a view to protecting the exposed section of railway and the land behind it. We need to make sure we limit any further damage this weekend so that the significant repairs that are needed do not become greater still.

'We will continue working with the Government, Environment Agency, local authorities and other partners to explore ways of improving the railway’s resilience to extreme weather. The disruption to rail services in the south-west highlights the importance of that work and the need for all forms of transport to ensure that they are fit for the future.'

Labour's shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh said: 'Freak weather is rapidly becoming the new normal in our country, and I understand the difficulties you have in giving a timescale for the Dawlish repairs, given further bad weather is forecast for Saturday.

'But every week that this line is closed costs the regional economy tens of millions of pounds.'

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