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Siemens pledge on railways plan
A multinational engineering firm has vowed to press ahead with a contact which will create hundreds of Sussex jobs.
Siemens is the Government’s preferred bidder for a contract for 1,200 new carriages on the Thameslink route.
The move will create around 750 construction jobs and 650 maintenance roles split between a depot at Three Bridges, West Sussex, and one at Hornsey in North London.
The electric commuter trains, carrying up to 1,750 passengers, will be lighter, more reliable and more energy efficient.
The upgrade on the Brighton to Bedford Thameslink route will almost double peak-time capacity.
But this week transport minister Simon Burns raised doubts over the deal, saying the Government is “assessing options” if Siemens fails to finalise the £1.4bn contract.
Steve Scrimshaw, Siemens’ managing director, said that he is confident that the company will finalise the contract soon.
‘Good progress’ He said: “The Thameslink negotiations are ongoing and although we are disappointed that they have taken longer than anticipated, we are making good progress and we remain confident that we will achieve closure of this important deal.”
Jeremy Taylor, executive director at the Gatwick Diamond Business, a trade association, said: “My understanding is that Siemens are pressing ahead with the construction in Sussex and they plan on opening and operating it as planned.
“While I can see that there may be some concerns about the depot’s role relating to the new Thameslink franchise, which has been delayed, I am confident that the maintenance and training work that will be carried out at the depot is still needed.”
This week Henry Smith, MP for Crawley, hosted a parliamentary reception for Siemens attended by senior company executives, Downing Street aides and Vince Cable, secretary of state for Business, Innovation & Skills.
He said: “I am confident this deal will go ahead.”
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