Spanish rolling stock manufacturer CAF has confirmed plans to set up a new rolling stock production and assembly plant in Britain.
The company says it has looked at more than 100 possible locations and is now working on detailed assessment of costs, design and construction timescales. It will make a decision on site location ‘within the next few weeks’ and plans to have the new plant up and running by spring 2018.
In addition to the production of vehicles, CAF says that sub-assemblies such as electric and pneumatic equipment and interior furnishings will also be assembled on site. All tests before commissioning are expected to be carried out at the new plant. The main building would be around 15,000 square metres in size, with an additional 10,000 square metres of space for stabling with exterior roads connected to the Network Rail main line. Provision will also be made for an eventual future extension, enabling a two-fold surface increase. The company initially expects to recruit in excess of 200 staff through its CAF Rail UK subsidiary.
The move is part of CAF’s plans to build on its foothold in the British market gained by three recent major contract awards. The company has won orders from Northern for 281 carriages (43 EMUs and 55 DMUs), from TransPennine Express for 66 loco-hauled carriages and 12 five-car EMUs, and from Caledonian Sleeper for 75 carriages. The company says the facility will enable it to build rolling stock for new UK contract awards where it ‘expects to play a full part in the years to come’, as well as offering maintenance and train servicing activities.