Talgo intends to build a train factory in Fife, Scotland, should it secure a major order.
The Spanish manufacturer is one of five shortlisted bidders for HS2’s £2.75 billion contract to build at least 54 trains. It also has plans to export trains for “emerging overseas markets” such as the Americas, Africa, Oceania and Ireland from the 70,000 sqm site.
The potential factory sits on the site of Longannet power station and was chosen because of its good connectivity by sea, rail and road, local supply of skilled labour and support from local partners.
Should plans get the green light, the factory will take 18 months to construct and will employ 1,000 workers once it is operational.
Production will see Talgo attempt to source components from the UK rather than assemble kits of parts from overseas, although a small number of ‘pre-production’ trains could be built in Spain whilst the factory is established. The Longannet site will also take best practice from Talgo’s existing factories in Las Matas and Rivabellosa, Spain.
Talgo undertook an 18-month search for a preferred site, assessing and preselecting sites in locations such as Leeds, St Helens and Mostyn.
Announcing the plans on November 14, Talgo president Carlos de Palacio said it had been a difficult decision because “the quality has been so high in so many places”.
He added: “However, our plans do not end in Scotland. Linked to our ‘all Britain’ strategy, we intend to create opportunity and harness skills across the UK.
“Talgo’s aim is to establish true UK manufacturing – rather than assembling from parts made elsewhere.”
In addition, Talgo has announced plans to develop an innovation centre in Chesterfield – chosen because of its central location – to develop its ‘all Britain’ strategy.