Bombardier lands £14.8 bn cross-London Crossrail contract

The lucrative contract for the supply of 65 trains for the UK's £14.8 billion cross-London Crossrail project has been bagged by Derby-based train company, Bombardier, which celebrates its 175th anniversary this year.

Prime minister David Cameron said the announcement was "great news for Bombardier and Derby" even as business secretary Vince Cable said it was "a real vote of confidence in British manufacturing".

The company had lost out to Siemens of Germany, three years back, on a £1.6 billion contract for trains for the Thameslink project.

The Siemens victory resulted led to contoversy, with critics saying that EU free-trade rules were resulting in job losses in the UK.

The Daily Express conducted a campaign in 2011 to save jobs and manufacturing that would be in jeopardy if the company were to collapse.

Siemens had also been in the fray for the Crossrail contract but withdrew last year, leaving Bombardier, Hitachi of Japan and CAF of Spain in the race.

The announcement by the Department for Transport, would see the deal for the manufacture of 65 trains support 760 UK manufacturing jobs and 80 apprenticeships.

The deal would also include the construction of a maintenance depot in north-west London, which would see the creation of 244 jobs and 16 apprenticeships. When fully operational it would support 80 jobs to maintain the new fleet of trains.

According to commentators, the contract had been seen as a make-or-break moment for the Bombardier plant, which was dealt a bodyblow in 2011 when it failed to land the £1.6 billion Thameslink project which went to Siemens.

According to the Department of Transport, 74 per cent of the cost of the contract would stay in the UK economy.

Each Crossrail train would be 200 metres long and be able to carry up to 1,500 passengers. The trains would feature air conditioning and inter-connecting walk-through carriages.

On-train passenger information systems would deliver real-time travel information to enable passengers plan their onward journeys.

The project was first mooted in 1990s but then scrapped on cost grounds only to be revived in the last decade. Crossrail is expected to boost London's rail capacity by 10 per cent.

The service would run from as far west as Maidenhead in Berkshire, connecting Heathrow, and Abbey Wood in south London, and would extend as far east as Shenfield in Essex.