A MASSIVE train contract is on track to create hundreds of jobs in South Tyneside.
Announced in June 2011, the massive £6.5bn Thameslink project will spark a 300-jobs boom at the Siemens plant, in North Farm Road, Hebburn.
The engineering and electronics giant plans to create 2,000 jobs across the UK as a result of the Thameslink contract, including hundreds of posts at the borough site.
From this July, Siemens’ Asset Services business will manufacture 20-metre cable harnesses, the first of a number of hi-tech components to be made at the site for the electronic Class 700 train.
The Hebburn plant has started training staff in readiness for the massive train contract, and a 10-strong team of technicians has already completed 10 weeks of hands-on training with cable harness product experts at Siemens’ main rail manufacturing facility at Krefeld, near Dusseldorf, Germany.
During the trip, technicians developed their product knowledge and have returned to the UK to pass on their expertise to others.
Over the course of the Thameslink project, the Hebburn facility will make a range of hi-tech components, including the drivers’ instruments and control desk, communication and control cubicles, plus cable harnesses.
Gavin Peralta, Thameslink programme manager for Siemens Asset Services, Hebburn, said: “We are responsible for delivering key components for the new trains, so knowledge transfer, in advance of production transfer from our sister site in Germany, is an important part of the process.
“The preparatory work we are undertaking is essential to ensuring a seamless transfer of product knowledge and manufacturing processes to our Hebburn factory.”
The Hebburn plant is being revamped to accommodate the significant production volumes of the Thameslink contract.
Additional warehouse storage and car parking will be arranged on site, with improved security, egress and access, ready for this July.
Des Young, director of Siemens Services, said: “It’s an exciting time for our business here in Hebburn, and to be part of the renaissance of train-building in the North East.
“Thameslink is just the first of what we hope will be a number of train component supply contracts.”
The Class 700 train has been developed to offer a Metro-style service, with a spacious and airy design, to maximise capacity and increase passenger comfort levels on the Thameslink routes operated by First Capital Connect.
The new trains are expected to enter service from early 2016, with the full 24 trains per hour peak service coming into effect at the end of 2018.
Worth £6.5bn, the Government-funded Thameslink programme will create 8,000 jobs and transform north-south travel through London.
Siemens anticipates the creation of up to 2,000 jobs across the UK in component manufacturing and assembly of parts for the new trains, as well as in the construction of the new depots and train maintenance.