Warning that HS2 delays could see Derby plant mothballed

The Alstom/Hitachi joint venture has been hit by delays

Around 2,000 people in Derby could lose their jobs at the end of the year if a train assembly plant is mothballed.

The warning comes amid reports that Britain’s largest train assembly plant at Alstom’s Litchurch Lane in the city could run out of work because of delays to the build of rolling stock for the HS2 project.

The Times says that Ministers are being warned that as well as 2,000 jobs being placed in peril, some 1,400 companies which employ 17,000 people in the supply chain will also be affected.

Alstom took over the Litchurch Lane site – Europe’s biggest train assembly plant – when it bought out Bombardier in 2021.

It has been busy making trains for the Crossrail scheme, London’s underground and overground services, as well as traditional trains for operators such as South Western, Greater Anglia, West Midlands and the c2c commuter lines.

Bosses at Alston had hoped that the £2bn contract it won in conjunction with the Hitachi factory in Durham to build rolling stock for HS2 would mean work in Derby for some years, but the date to start building these trains has been pushed back to 2026.

The Unite union told The Times: “There’s no pipeline of work for Derby from the first quarter of next year because of delays and dithering.

“This could be devastating for Derby and we could be looking at the destruction of the rail supply chain in general in this country.”

The Times says that Alstom is already looking to cut jobs at its Derby plant after being spooked by government Ministers.

The company told TheBusinessDesk.com: “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. We are committed to working with Government to secure a sustainable future for the factory, our 2,000 staff and the over 1,400 UK suppliers we work with.”

A spokesperson for the Government said: “We remain in contact with Alstom as it develops a sustainable future for its Derby site.”