Work begins on Thameslink trains in Hebburn
Production of high-tech electrical components and assemblies for new Thameslink trains started in Hebburn today, marked by celebrations attended by Transport Minister Baroness Kramer, South Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council chief executive Martin Swales and The Mayor of South Tyneside, Fay Cunningham.
High-tech components at the heart of over 1,100 carriages destined for the prestigious Thameslink rolling stock project will be manufactured at Siemens’ Hebburn factory, creating up to 300 jobs in the region over the duration of the project.
Across the UK, Siemens will generate up to 2,000 jobs under the Thameslink rolling stock project in component manufacturing, assembly of parts, the construction of the new depots, and subsequent train maintenance.
Work has begun at the Hebburn site on components for the Siemens Class 700 electric trains that will form the Thameslink fleet. The first components to be manufactured are cable harnesses, followed by drivers’ instruments and control desks, electrical cabinets, ceiling containers and coupler boxes which will all be produced at the South Tyneside facility over the next three to four years.
The Hebburn plant has also been revamped, including reconfiguration of the shop floor and facilities to accommodate the significant production volumes of the Thameslink contract. Additional warehouse storage and car parking has been created on site with improved security, egress and access.
The rolling stock project is part of the Government sponsored £6.5bn Thameslink Programme that will create a further 6,000 jobs and transform north-south travel through London. The first trains are expected to run on the Thameslink north-south route between Bedford and Brighton from 2016, and will deliver more capacity on the route and provide more frequent and reliable transport connections with the capital.
Transport minister Baroness Kramer said: “The start of production at Hebburn is great news for the region, as well as being a major milestone in the Thameslink project, which is generating more than 8,000 jobs nationwide and will transform travel through central London when it completes in 2018.
“The North East is a real hub of rail industry expertise and through our investment in the Thameslink Programme, we are helping to boost that industry, creating hundreds of local jobs, building skills for the future and securing the UK’s long-term economic growth.”
Des Young, Asset Services Director at Siemens in Hebburn, said:
“This is an important day for the Hebburn site, South Tyneside and the North East more widely. Thameslink isn’t just connecting London to the rest of the country – it’s also creating and protecting high tech jobs in the region, allowing us to compete both in the domestic and global rail equipment supply business.
“We hope that Thameslink is just the beginning of the specialist manufacturing to be undertaken in Hebburn. We are confident that the work conducted for Thameslink here will show that the North East has the skills, capacity and high-tech facilities to support major rail projects in the UK and overseas.”
Iain Smith, Thameslink Programme Director for Siemens Rail Systems, said:
“I am delighted to see work commence in Hebburn on this important project making high tech components for the Thameslink fleet. The work that will be done in Hebburn will compliment the work of a wide range of UK and European suppliers involved in the project. These trains will play a crucial role in modernising our transport network. The Class 700 Desiro City trains have been designed with British commuters in mind and will improve reliability, energy efficiency, passenger access and comfort. We believe this will change commuting for the better.”