£7.5bn train contract awarded to Japanese

  oresome 17:05 12 Feb 2009

The UK has a long history of locomotive design and manufacture.

Does this now spell the end for the industry?

We're unlikely to win export orders if we don't use our own home built products and develop them using this experience.

I seem to remember most if not all of the trams for recent schemes were also built abroad.

click here

  Monoux 17:41 12 Feb 2009

I thought the slogan was buy British - There is a UK firm capable of building these trains and their bid was cheaper ( according to teletext ). The article seems to make it clear that most of the works will be in Japan with final assembly in the UK plus ' aftercare '

Surely the spin offs from this to many UK firms woulds have been considerable

What sort of signal ( no pun intended as we're talking about railways ) does this send when our own Government awards contracts like this to foreign companies and stands by and watches whilst UK fims go to the wall when they could have helped so many by keeping this in the UK

  sunnystaines 17:42 12 Feb 2009

where was jobs for the brits? or did they quote far too much for the job.

  Forum Editor 18:53 12 Feb 2009

because Hitachi builds better trains than we do. The company has a reputation for building very reliable trains, and the Japanese run the world's most efficient railways.

I've travelled on one of the high-speed trains on the line that runs between Tokyo and Osaka, and it's a revelation. The trains are punctual, spotlessly clean and fast (even the drivers wear white gloves), and there hasn't been a single passenger fatality in forty years of operation.

Obviously it would have been good to award the contract to a British company - I imagine the Department of Transport would have much preferred to do that - but in the end an order of this magnitude should go to the firm that is the best in its field, and is going to produce a train that will be reliable and efficient, and at the moment that company is Hitachi.

If we want British companies to get this kind of business we have to ensure that they're the best there is for the job, and it seems that as far as modern train building is concerned there's a better option at the moment.

  Marko797 19:02 12 Feb 2009

that's the tendering process for you. Cheapest doesn't always win as there are lots of factors taken into account, but sadly not home economic struggle. As for (bab) Hoon's comments...well, nuff said really.

  newman35 19:11 12 Feb 2009

From the BBC news tonight, it seems that only the body is to be built in Japan and shipped over, other parts are to be made in UK and Europe.

  Forum Editor 19:24 12 Feb 2009

"..other parts are to be made in UK and Europe."

We'll see - I doubt that the power plants will be built here.

  laurie53 19:39 12 Feb 2009

There is always the subtle difference, never referred to on these occasion, between "manufactured" and "assembled".

The term "made" is often used to mean either.

  newman35 19:57 12 Feb 2009

The news seemed to split up the parts, (using graphics to illustrate wheels etc !! - not dumbing down of course!). I remember 'wheels' were UK, it said 'power plant' would be UK/Euro, then body, Japan.

  Monoux 20:01 12 Feb 2009

Fe -- The Japanese have a big adavantage for their rail system - they don't have to contend with railtrack !!

  WhiteTruckMan 20:27 12 Feb 2009

"but in the end an order of this magnitude should go to the firm that is the best in its field,"

Does/should this also apply to government IT projects as well?


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