Rail union boss Mick Cash attacks 'scandalous' foreign train contract


Unions have branded a decision to hand a £490 million train building contract to Spain a "kick in the teeth".

Bombardier's Derby operation was reportedly bidding for the deal to provide 281 vehicles to Arriva Rail North but has lost out to rolling stock manufacturer CAF.

The Spanish company is expected to submit tenders for other UK contracts including the High Speed 2 rail link between London and the north.

Arriva said the 100mph trains will "transform" travel for passengers in the north of England and insisted the CAF contract was the best value. The new fleet of electric and diesel trains will replace the "outdated, unpopular" Pacers currently in use, the company said.

But RMT general secretary Mick Cash criticised the decision to send the contract overseas. He told The Mirror: "This is yet another kick in the teeth to train building, in the nation that gave the railways to the world.

"At a time when manufacturing jobs and the steel industry in Britain are under the cosh it is nothing short of scandalous that this contract has been sent overseas."

An Arriva spokesman told the Mirror: "CAF provided the best, value-for-money offer in response to our requirements."

Transport minister Andrew Jones said: "Thanks to our record investment more than 2,000 carriages are being built in British factories. The state of the art trains Arriva are providing will improve journeys across the North, which has suffered from worn-out rolling stock for too long."