Talgo UK and Chesterfield Borough Council, have taken another step forward towards bringing advanced rail skills and technology to the town, with the delivery of a very-high-speed rail vehicle for training and education purposes yesterday.
This comes alongside confirmation that a ‘framework agreement’ between Chesterfield Borough Council and Talgo UK is set to be entered in February, setting out milestones for a new Innovation Centre.
Talgo is a specialized rolling stock engineering company mainly focused on designing, manufacturing and servicing technologically differentiated, fast, lightweight trains, with a presence in 44 countries.
Talgo UK recently established a Head Office in Chesterfield, and confirmed ambitions to develop an ‘Innovation Centre’, co-located with Barrow Hill Roundhouse.
The company has plans for the UK that include not only Chesterfield, but also a major manufacturing plant at Longannet, in Scotland. The two sites will work together to ensure that the expertise and knowledge needed to build and export ‘state of the art’ trains will be embedded in the UK.
Instead of assembling kits from overseas, the company intends to reinvigorate the UK supply-chain, and source from it wherever possible, upskilling workers, protecting jobs, and keeping more money in the local and national economies of the UK.
Carlos de Palacio, President of Talgo, said: “I am delighted to deliver a high-speed present from Spain today. This is part of Talgo’s plan to generate better understanding of Talgo’s technologies that are being used around the world, but which have so far eluded the UK.”
He added: “I hope that it is not long before we see the next generation of Talgo’s products built in the UK, with technical knowledge and innovation being provided by a team headquartered in Chesterfield, and drawing on the knowledge and expertise of the whole UK.”
Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “I am extremely pleased that Talgo remains committed to Chesterfield and shares our ambitions to maximise the opportunities presented by unprecedented growth in the rail sector and transformational infrastructure projects, including HS2.
“I am delighted to announce that in February Chesterfield Borough Council expects to enter into a framework agreement with Talgo UK.
“The agreement will recognise the recent establishment of Talgo UK’s Headquarters here at Barrow Hill and will set out the milestones for the delivery of an Innovation Centre from where Talgo will develop its ‘all Britain Strategy.”
Talgo’s proposals for the Innovation Centre follow a major piece of collaborative work, involving key partners including Barrow Hill Engine Shed Society, Chesterfield College, The University of Derby, Newcastle University’s NewRail and Midlands Rail Forum.
The partnership has commissioning Focus Consultants and Maber Architects to progress a feasibility and RIBA stage 2 design study, bringing closer the ambition of DRIIVe (Derbyshire Rail Industry Innovation Vehicle). DRIIVe encompasses a modern rail innovation and training centre that will deliver over 3400sqm of floorspace, 190 jobs and a complete pathway of rail provision from level 2 through to level 7 for 1800 learners over 10 years.