Spanish investment puts UK rail industry on the fast track

Spanish train manufacturer Talgo has announced that more than 1,000 jobs are to be created at a new train manufacturing plant in Scotland.

Talgo will build its first UK manufacturing base at Longannet, near Falkirk, and is also planning to establish an innovation centre in Chesterfield, which will create further high-skilled jobs in the UK engineering sector. The company make intercity, standard, and high-speed trains for use from the USA to Kazakhstan.

Speaking to an audience of more than 100 Spanish and UK investors and stakeholders at a Spain-UK Transport Infrastructure Forum in London, Minister for investment Graham Stuart will outline the £88bn worth of investment that will enter the UK rail infrastructure pipeline, including High Speed 2 and Northern Powerhouse rail.

Minister for Investment, Graham Stuart MP said:

We’re determined to create higher paying jobs for people right across the UK. The only way to do it is by having policies to improve productivity and attract foreign investment (FDI). So I’m delighted that Talgo will create more than a thousand jobs across the UK supply chain thanks to investment in Longannet and Chesterfield.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is transforming this country’s effectiveness in attracting FDI with Trade Commissioners in every region of the world, staff in more than 100 countries and a determination to build on our position as the leading foreign investment destination in Europe.

Talgo’s UK Director, Jon Veitch, said:

When Talgo started this process, we were looking for just one site. However, we soon realised that all parts of the UK had something to offer.

We have learned about the many rail-related initiatives across the UK, intended to boost capability for research, development, and testing. There is an engineering renaissance under way, and I want Talgo to be a leading partner.

Talgo wants to see a steady supply of engineers and other skilled people enter the workforce, and be the innovators of the future.

The announcement comes after fellow Spanish rail firm CAF were announced earlier this year as the preferred bidder to supply 77 new trains for the Wales and Borders rail franchise. This followed an investment of £30m rolling stock factory in Newport, which will employ 300 people by next year.

The UK is Europe’s top destination for foreign direct investment, while recent data released by UNCTAD found that the UK had the second highest level of investment globally in the first six months of this year.

It also has one of the world’s top five most innovative economies according to the Global Innovation Index, as well as four of the world’s top ten universities.

The UK’s advanced manufacturing sector which has over 100,000 companies, while total venture capital investment was more than Germany, Spain, France and Ireland combined last year.