Bombardier, the UK train manufacturer that lost out to a German competitor for a lucrative Department of Transport (DoT) deal, has secured a new contract worth £188m.
The government was heavily criticised for preferring Siemens over Bombardier for the recent Thameslink contract. Now the Derby-based company has landed a new deal, which will include £80 million from the DoT.
The company, which announced hundreds of jobs losses after failing to win the Thameslink deal, will now build 130 new rail carriages for Southern, which runs services in south London, Surrey, Sussex and Kent. The new carriages are due to enter service in December 2013.
The government funding for the Southern deal came from money made available following last month's Autumn Statement by Chancellor George Osborne.
Transport Secretary Justine Greening was quoted by the Press Association: "This deal for more than 100 new carriages is great news for rail passengers and brilliant news for Bombardier and Derby.
"It lands Bombardier with a crucial train order and I look forward to Bombardier workers in Derby being among the winners of this important deal.
"This deal, helped along by my department, shows my determination to invest in Britain's railways: our support for Southern will boost capacity while helping British jobs. I can't think of a better outcome."
Speaking to the Derby Telegraph, local MP Chris Williamson said: "There is a strong likelihood that this will secure the company's future in Derby for the next 12 to 18 months.
"This is good news but it shouldn't deflect us from continuing to campaign to get the Thameslink deal reversed or to make sure changes in the contracting regime are made to ensure Bombardier gets the major Crossrail job."
Tony Tinley, regional officer for the Unite union, said the deal was “fantastic news” for the employees and for the community.
"I can only guess the £80 million from the government signals a commitment to manufacturing that is long overdue," he said.
The new contract follows a report by the House of Commons Transport Committee, which was critical of the way the Thameslink deal had been conducted.
According to Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT transport union, the order is a “welcome” move. However, he said the award of the contract “does not let the Government off the hook on either the unsigned Thameslink contract or the looming (cross-London project) Crossrail deal”.