Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Bombardier Paying Price For Lack Of Rail Investment

CrossCountry Voyager

The news that Bombardier are having to decimate their Derby workforce after the government awarded a train-building contract to German-based Siemens is, of course, shocking.

This row has been brewing for some time. With no new rail franchise awards for quite some time, and the ones that exist at the moment all having newish rolling stock already, orders had dried up in Britain. Couple this with the government's policy of pricing people off the rails rather than investing in more carriages, and the UK's last train manufacturer was fighting a losing battle.

Plus, anyone who has travelled any distance on a Voyager knows that Bombardier's product was, well, a bit shit.

Coming hot on the heels of Iain Duncan Smith calling for 'British jobs for British workers', this has been a spectacular own goal for the UK government. They're getting a deserved kicking for it.

But let me explode one myth being bandied about today: that you'll never see this kind of thing happening in other European countries. Last year, Eurostar - owned partly by French state railway SNCF - awarded a new train contract to German-based Siemens instead of the French firm Alstom which had built all it's previous trains. An almighty row erupted in France, much like the one today around Bombardier.

It's almost like Siemens are wooing companies with a decent product...


Anonymous said...

The people are more important than whether you like the fucking train or not.


David said...

Haven't Bombardier stated that even with this contract they would have reduced staff as other contracts are finishing. What is needed is continued investment in rail not just one off deals.

Siemens are obviously more forceful in getting there bids accepted, either due to price or product.

Despairing said...

Anonymous - it's not whether I like the train or not, it's whether the company buying them likes the train or not.

David - yes, there's an almost 3 year gap between other contracts ending & beginning to build this one, so there would have been redundancies anyway. If the government would get off it's backside & invest in more carriages and more trains then there would be enough work to go around for everyone. Instead, they prefer the cheaper option - hike the fares and price people off the rails. And it's not just a coalition policy, Labour did the same thing.

Anonymous said...

yeah, but MORE people are using the railways now than in recent years. Do you make it ALL up or what? Bloody internet.


Despairing said...

Yes, passenger numbers have risen and continue to rise. I didn't say the policy of pricing people off the rails actually works. It's something I've condemned many times.

Anonymous said...

Ok. When in a hole stop digging.

You used pricing people off the rails as part justification for the company losing the contract. In other words, intimating fewer people using their product, so less demand for it etc. There are actually more people using their product.

rlemkin said...

Yes more people are using the trains but this has not led to comparable orders in train stock!