Yorkshire region on track for the future of rail manufacturing

Plans to build a state-of-the-art train manufacturing plant in East Yorkshire which could mean an investment of up to £200m are right on track.

Siemens Mobility, part of the German engineering giant, has submitted outline plans as it looks to secure permission for the construction of the Goole factory.

And it has revealed that recruitment is now underway for key project roles. Pending planning consent, the site could be fully operational by 2025.

The facility, on the Goole 36 development next to junction 36 of the M62 motorway, will manufacture and commission state-of-the-art trains for the expanding UK rail market.

The project gained further confirmation in November last year following the signing of a £1.6bn contract by London Underground for Siemens to design and build a new generation of trains for the Piccadilly Line.

The new factory could employ up to 700 people in skilled engineering and manufacturing roles, plus an additional 250 people during the construction phase.

Around 1,700 indirect jobs are expected to be created throughout the UK supply chain, according to reports.

The plans include more than 860,000 sq ft of manufacturing and warehouse buildings, as well as about 53,800 sq ft of office space.

Will Wilson, managing director, rolling stock at Siemens Mobility, said: “This is a major step forward for our plans.

“With digitalisation we can help make trains and infrastructure intelligent and reaching this milestone furthers our vision to create a sustainable, long-term and technically advanced facility that is an asset to the UK.”

When he first announced the planned investment, Juergen Maier, chief executive at Siemens UK, said that the site “not only has the potential scale we need for a facility of this size but also ready access to the skilled people we’d need to build and operate the factory.”

He added: “This investment has the potential to have a tremendous impact on the Yorkshire economy and the North of England as a whole, ensuring that the benefits of infrastructure spending are spread widely and helping to ensure the ongoing development of the UK rail industry.”

Siemens was crowned Rail Business of the Year last month. More than 550 Siemens trains are in service every day.

Siemens Mobility’s rolling stock is operated by Eurostar, Heathrow Express, Thameslink, South Western Railway, West Midland Trains and Transpennine Express.

The rolling stock business employs around 800 staff and contractors who work at the company’s own sites around the UK.

Siemens Mobility is also helping to train the next generation of rail engineers and technicians through the National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR).

A £7m investment, with 50% from Siemens, NTAR aims to address industry skills gaps and provides 20,000 man hours of training per year.


Global centre for advanced rail and high speed technology

Meanwhile, the Leeds City Region is set to become a global centre for advanced rail and high speed technology.

The University of Leeds is looking to collaborate with industry on major research projects after revealing plans to build an Institute for High Speed Rail.

It will be created on a 10-acre site at the Gateway 45 Leeds development which will also be the location for the university’s Centre for Infrastructure Materials.

The university announced it had bought the land for the development in April. It says the institute will bring a ‘whole system’ approach to high speed rail planning, design, construction and manufacturing. The institute will also be located near a planned HS2 high-speed train maintenance depot.

Professor Lisa Roberts, deputy vice-chancellor at Leeds, said: “The new advanced testing facilities as part of the University’s Institute, alongside HS2’s new rolling stock depot, are a significant step forward for UK high speed rail capability.

“They position Leeds City Region as a global centre for high speed rail research and development, so we’re working closely with HS2 to ensure our facilities align with its needs and those of industry, so all sides can deliver for the country.”

The site will also include the University of Leeds’, Centre of Infrastructure Materials, created to support one of the key foundations of the UK’s emerging industrial strategy.

It will develop and test the long-term impact of changing conditions on the wide range of materials used to construct built environments around the world.

The 166-acre Gateway 45 site sits next to junction 45 of the M1 and has outline planning consent for 2.64 m sq ft of commercial space.