London mayor Sadiq Khan has warned that future UK-wide supply chain contracts are at risk without a long-term capital funding deal for TfL.
The warning came as the mayor visited the Siemens Mobility facility in Goole, East Yorkshire, where half of the 94 new Piccadilly line tube trains are due to be built, and got an exclusive first look at the final mock-up. The much-needed new trains, which passengers will see on the Piccadilly line from 2025, will improve frequency, reliability and capacity on the line, replacing the previous 1970s-built fleet.
Fifty-per-cent of the new train fleet will be built in the Siemens Mobility factory in Goole, employing up to 700 people in engineering and manufacturing roles, 250 in construction and 1,700 in the broader supply chain. TfL’s contract has been a key catalyst for Siemens Mobility to progress their multi-million-pound investment in the facility in Goole, creating thousands of UK jobs - a prime example of just how important investment in TfL is to jobs and the UK's economy as a whole.
Leading industry figures have consistently called for a long-term funding deal for TfL, after the latest £200m bailout to keep London’s transport network up and running until June was agreed in last-ditch talks in February.
Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, said: “Visiting this Yorkshire factory and the state-of-the-art Piccadilly Line trains being built, it is clear how strong London’s relationships with our regional suppliers are – demonstrating just how vital skills and expertise around the country is to London’s success and how investment in TfL is vital to jobs and a UK wide recovery.
“Without sufficient capital investment in TfL, future contracts with regional suppliers are at risk. The best way to secure these highly skilled jobs into the future is for ministers to break the continuous cycle of short-term funding deals handed to TfL which only holds back London and the rest of the country from innovation, jobs and economic growth.
“When London succeeds, the country succeeds and vice versa. This week the government has the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to levelling up and deliver the capital funding TfL and its supply chain need – without it, both London and the wider country will be held back.”
TfL’s supply chain stretches around the country and London has a strong relationship with regional suppliers like Siemens Mobility in Goole – with 55p in every pound invested in improving London Underground being spent outside of London.
The Tube has seen a transformation over the last two decades and its continued modernisation forms a key part of the mayor’s transport strategy to make London a greener, more affordable, more accessible place.
The mayor has ambitions to rapidly expand the order book, not just for new trains, but for new, cleaner buses too, creating more highly skilled manufacturing jobs – but to continue projects like this, TfL needs a sustainable long-term capital funding deal from government.
TfL has time limited options built into its contract with Siemens Mobility to build new Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City line trains in the future, with sufficient funding these options could be activated, providing ongoing work for this important Yorkshire manufacturing base and its supply chain. However, under a managed decline scenario, the date for new trains for the Bakerloo and Central line would be pushed back to the late 2030s /early 2040s.
Andrew Percy, MP for Brigg and Goole said: “Investing in London's transport system is not only of benefit to Londoners and those who visit and do business in our capital city, it is also supporting thousands of jobs across the north and bringing hundreds of millions of pounds of investment to Goole. It is levelling-up in action.”
Sambit Banerjee, managing director, rolling stock & customer services, Siemens Mobility Limited, said: “We’re very proud to be building London’s newest tube trains right here in Yorkshire. The investment in the new Piccadilly line trains is helping us establish Goole as a centre of excellence for UK rail, creating up to 700 new jobs, including local apprentices and graduate trainees, and growing our large UK supply chain. We also want to build the next generation of Britain’s mainline trains here in Yorkshire, alongside new Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City line trains, subject to funding being confirmed.”
Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “Economic success is not a zero-sum game. We’re pleased to see the mayor taking the time to come up north to see the ways in which we and London can work together to create jobs, catalyse investment and unlock growth. Genuine levelling up in action. The chance to create a rail manufacturing ecosystem in Goole is testament the leadership role the north can play in the UK’s economy."