Spanish train company to build factory in Fife

More than 1,000 jobs are to be created at a new train manufacturing plant in Fife.

Longannet beat competition from five other places to be chosen as the site of Spanish train manufacturer Talgo’s first UK base.

Talgo works in the design, manufacture and servicing of fast, lightweight trains and has bid to win the contract for HS2 rolling stock.

Longannet’s connections by sea, rail and road and the availability of skilled workers were said to be the key factors in the decision.

The construction of the factory will take around 18 months, and the announcement comes as demolition work continues on Longannet power station.

The station was closed in 2016, bringing an end to coal-fired power production in Scotland.

Talgo president Carlos de Palacio said: “This has been a tremendously challenging mission for Talgo, and I have personally seen excellence in all corners of the UK.

“It has been a difficult decision to make as the quality has been so high in so many places.”

He added: “Talgo’s aim is to establish true UK manufacturing – rather than assembling from parts made elsewhere. This will be a team effort, requiring the ‘best of British’. Our 18-month mission has revealed a determination and willingness across Britain to do just that.

“Although there can only be one factory site, we have developed excellent relationships with areas that we have visited.”

The company is also to establish an innovation centre in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, which will bring together UK suppliers.

UK director Jon Veitch said: “This is not only an exciting day for Talgo, it is an exciting day for the UK, too.

“When Talgo started this process, we were looking for just one site. However, we soon realised that all parts of the UK had something to offer.

“We have learned about the many rail-related initiatives across the UK, intended to boost capability for research, development, and testing. There is an engineering renaissance under way, and I want Talgo to be a leading partner.

“Talgo wants to see a steady supply of engineers and other skilled people enter the workforce, and be the innovators of the future.

“As part of Talgo’s commitment to the UK-wide supply chain, our preferred second facility – in Chesterfield – will act as a catalyst.”

Scotland’s Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “This investment is a significant achievement for Scotland and yet another endorsement of our country’s attractiveness to international investors.

“Should Talgo be successful in its bid to win the contract for HS2 rolling stock, this new factory at Longannet would bring a great number of new jobs to Fife, which would be a welcome boost for the local area. However, the full economic impact of such an investment, and the supply chain opportunities it would bring, would be felt right across Scotland.”

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