LONDON Feb 6 Britain said it awarded a 1
billion pound ($1.63 billion) train supply contract for London's
huge Crossrail project to Bombardier Inc, in a move
which secures jobs in the UK where the carriages will be built.
Train supply deals in Britain have been politically
sensitive in the past. Three years ago, Bombardier, which owns
the country's only remaining train manufacturing plant, lost out
on a contract to Germany's Siemens AG, resulting in
hundreds of job losses in Britain.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said on Thursday that
Bombardier would build 65 trains at its plant in Derby, northern
England, supporting about 1,000 jobs.
The new trains will run on Crossrail, a 15 billion pound
project due to open in 2018 which will connect Heathrow airport
in the west of London to the county of Essex in the east through
42 km (26 miles) of new tunnels.
"The manufacture of these new trains will not only
revolutionise rail travel in London, they will deliver jobs and
economic growth in their birthplace in Derby and across the UK,"
London Mayor Boris Johnson said in a statement.
Bombardier, headquartered in Montreal, Canada, has owned the
historic train manufacturing site in Derby, which dates back as
far as the 1840s, for about 13 years.
Its future was thrown into doubt in 2011 when Bombardier
lost out on a 1.4 billion pound contract to supply trains for
Thameslink, another London rail line.
Bombardier's UK managing director Francis Paonessa said the
company had reviewed its UK operations in the wake of missing
out on that contract but three subsequent deals had, however,
helped secure the plant's future until 2015.
"Crossrail now gives us a workload through to 2018,"
Paonessa told Reuters.
The deal between the DfT, Transport for London and
Bombardier will also involve the firm maintaining the new trains
and building a new depot for Crossrail, the largest
infrastructure project in Europe.
Japan's Hitachi and Spain's CAF were also
in the running for the Crossrail trains contract, while Siemens
pulled out in July.