In the near future, Londoners travelling on Crossrail will have the satisfaction of knowing their train was conceived, designed and built in Great Britain.
Under the £1 billion Crossrail contract, 65 Aventra trains will be built at Litchurch Lane in Derby and maintained by Bombardier staff at a new depot in Old Oak Common.
The new energy efficient trains are 200 metres long, lighter, faster and capable of carrying 1500 people each. They
owe much of their design to the input of experienced railway staff across the industry .
A global centre of excellence
The head of Bombardier UK, Dr. Francis Paonessa, praised the efforts of staff who helped design the new train. The Aventra, he said, had been designed and developed in the UK. Winning the contract was, he went on, ‘A credit to the efforts of our entire workforce in the UK, including our 1,600 strong Derby-based design, engineering and manufacturing team who form a global centre of excellence for the rail industry.’
A new generation
Aventra’s original design dates from well before the ill-fated Thameslink bid. Undaunted, designers at Litchurch Lane set about refining their plans for a new generation of top performing passenger- friendly trains. The 100 strong team at Derby was funded by Bombardier, the Aventra sign above the door a steadfast statement of faith in the future.
Using industry-wide contacts and railway staff at almost all of Bombardier’s locations, the design team sat down to work out the ideal train for the market.
Says Jon Shaw, Bombardier’s head of engineering, ‘We have engineers who have been designing UK trains and building them for years. And that’s something we feel is unique….. we’ve also got depot engineers from Strathclyde to Surrey, all over the place, all looking after trains in the field.
‘How are they performing? Is there something we can do better there? So that was how Aventra was reborn. We took the opportunity to go around and talk to the market and to our customers.’
Jon added, ‘We’re extremely fortunate that they’ve willingly given up a lot of their time to do that.’ The Aventra is a result of the combined thinking of a generation of railway men and women – including customers, suppliers and producers.
Derby celebrates 175 years in the railway business this year. The first workshops opened in 1839. As the news sinks in and railway staff at Litchurch Lane prepare for production, the future for British train building looks bright once again.
The first trains for Crossrail will be ready by 2018. Not for nothing are the new trains called ‘Aventra’. The name, Aventra, comes from the French: l’avenir – meaning ‘the future.’