British components for British trains | Letters
I write regarding Hitachi Rail Europe’s first Intercity Express train to be built in the UK (Report, 9 December). This train might well be “put together in the UK”, but many of its components are made in Japan and elsewhere. Perhaps it might be more accurate to say assembled in the UK, though I doubt that would have quite the same publicity value. My company, William Cook Rail, based at the heart of the “northern powerhouse” in Leeds, is a world-class manufacturer of components for high-speed and commuter trains. It exports 80% of its products to blue-chip train manufacturers throughout Europe and elsewhere. Yet it was not even invited to bid to supply the critical bogie parts for the new Hitachi trains. These are all coming from Japan. Manufacturing forms a key element of the government’s economic strategy. Billions of pounds of UK taxpayers’ money are being spent on the biggest investment in railways since the Victorian era. Ministers should be insisting on local content where possible to support UK industries and UK jobs. Surely this makes sense.
Sir Andrew Cook CBE
Chairman, William Cook Holdings
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Source: Guardian Transport