Trains are coming home: Derby handed lifeline with vital Crossrail contract

Derby's train-building industry was given the kiss of life today, after it was confirmed local firm Bombardier had been given the Crossrail contract.

The announcement comes just months after the government was fiercely criticised for handing the Thameslink contract to German firm Siemens.

The decision to agree the £1.4 billion scheme overseas was followed by 1,000 job losses at the Bombardier plant and was described as a "death blow to Derby's economy".

European procurement directives outlaw governments protecting domestic suppliers, but the small print of the Crossrail deal suggests the Department for Transport managed to secure key measures supporting small-and-medium-sized businesses (SMEs).

Sixty-five trains will be built in Derby under the plans, creating over 1,000 jobs and around 100 apprenticeships.

Bombardier will make around £1 billion from the contract, which includes rolling stock and a new depot.

An estimated 74% of contract spend will remain in the UK economy.

"This announcement will mean state of the art trains providing quick, comfortable journeys for the millions of people Crossrail will serve," transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said.

"It is also great news for British manufacturing and for Derbyshire."

Supporters of the Crossrail project say it will generate at least 75,000 business opportunities and support the equivalent of 55,000 full time jobs right around the UK.

The Department of Transport was at pains to promote the spread of benefits from the scheme.

Officials say three in five of the businesses winning work on the project are based outside London and over half are SMEs.

All bidders were asked to set out how they would engage with their wider supply chains and maximise opportunities for SMEs.

Bombardier will target at least 25% of the value of the contract going to SMEs. Bidders were required to manage the project through a London-based office and to commit to have plans to deliver job and training opportunities, including apprenticeships.

Each Crossrail train is 200 metres long and able to carry up to 1,500 passengers. Key features of the new trains include air conditioning and inter-connecting walk-through carriages.

They will be built with an emphasis on energy efficiency and use of intelligent on-train energy management systems.