Talgo, a high-tech Spanish train manufacturer is looking at Hunterston Port and Resource Centre (PARC) along with Longannet in Fife and four other shortlisted UK locations, as a site to manufacture trains that will serve the new High Speed (HS2) rail routes being developed by the UK Government. This will take the railway line from London to Birmingham, followed by extensions to Manchester and Leeds. This will not be completed until 2033, HS1 being completed by 2026. The project will cost an estimated £56,000 million.
Up to 1,000 highly skilled jobs would be employed building the new generation of superfast trains.
Representatives of Talgo are in Edinburgh today meeting delegations from the two potential Scottish sites.
Talgo already designs, manufactures and services fast lightweight trains for 28 national markets including Spain, Germany, Saudi Arabia and the US.
It provided the new AVRIL train to Spanish operator RENFE and intends to enter the UK market through “true manufacturing” rather than assembling parts from overseas.
The shortlist is the latest phase in a search that has lasted 18 months, crossed much of Britain and has seen detailed discussions with land owners, development agencies, local councils, research establishments, schools, colleges and universities. Each potential location “shares great connectivity” and would benefit from major job creation and have the potential to supply “people that can be skilled-up to meet the needs of building trains that can run at up to 235mph.”
Talgo said it intends not only to build for the UK market, but also to serve emerging overseas markets, boosting UK exports.
Carlos de Palacio, president of Talgo and grandson of the company's founder, has undertaken the fact finding missions for the site himself and said:
“The establishment of a manufacturing facility in the UK is a significant part of Talgo’s future strategy. Talgo’s aim is to establish true manufacturing – rather than assembling from parts made elsewhere. This means that we will draw from materials and expertise across the UK.
“This keeps more money in the UK economy, and creates more skilled long-term jobs.”
Talgo has already been shortlisted in the procurement process to supply Very High-Speed trains to be used in HS2 Phase One.
Already 21 Scottish companies have been awarded work on HS2 either directly or as sub-contractors with 170 businesses in Scotland engaged regarding potential opportunities.
Talgo has been shortlisted to build the 54 classic compatible trains for High Speed 2 (HS2) in a £2,750 million deal and has held discussions with land owners, development agencies, local authorities, research establishments, schools, colleges and universities.
It plans to build trains capable of running at speeds of up to 400 kilometres an hour (235 mph) for the UK and serve emerging overseas markets, boosting exports.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“The potential for 1,000 new, highly skilled jobs at Hunterston PARC is an exciting one.
“I first discussed this with the Peel Group last year, along with other potential site uses. I am delighted that their hard work in bringing Talgo on board is nearing fruition. Of course, there is strong competition from the other five sites being considered. However, with 5.7 kilometres of track at Hunterston, it’s grid connections and deep water port that makes Hunterston so unique, I believe that there is a more than fighting chance that this exciting manufacturing facility will come to North Ayrshire.”
A final decision on the site is expected in November.