Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon has denied that a £122 million contract awarded to Bombardier’s train making facility earlier this week was a consolation prize for missing out on the £7.5bn Intercity Express Programme to a group led by its Japanese rival Hitachi in February.
The contract awarded this week is to supply a 120 strong fleet of train carriages for the Stansted Express service.
“I recognise that Bombardier had a setback earlier this year and said at the time that other contracts were coming,” said Hoon. “And now that they will build trains for the Stansted Express, they will have a good platform to win other contracts further down the track.”
The trains will be made in Derby where Bombardier employs 2,500 people. The division has a gap in its order book for 2010 however and this was exasperated by losing the Intercity Express contract earlier this year.
“I don’t accept this is any sort of sweetener – there were simply a series of contracts that we were dealing with at the same time,” added Hoon.
The Canadian parent company of Bombardier announced 3,000 global job cuts this week, including 975 at the firm’s aerospace facilities in Northern Ireland. This was despite announcing a soar in profits from £614m to £950m for the year ending January 31.
Peter Roberts, vice-chairman of Derby and Derbyshire Rail Forum which represents train firms including Bombardier, said he welcomed this contract but that the company “needs something more substantial that will safeguard jobs for the long term.”