The business leader behind plans for a multi-million pound railway factory in Yorkshire has claimed he wants to replicate the success of one of the region’s pioneering engineering developments.
Finbarr Dowling, the project director for Siemens’s £200m manufacturing site at Goole, told The Yorkshire Post that he hopes the factory will become an epicentre for a host of facilities to develop a world-leading infrastructure location to service the rail industry.
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The aim is to mirror the success of the Advanced Manufacturing and Research Centre (AMRC), which was established in 2001 as a £15m collaboration between the University of Sheffield and the aerospace giant, Boeing.
The AMRC in Sheffield is now home to world-leading brands such as McLaren and helps develop cutting-edge technologies to service industries such as nuclear power and aerospace.
Mr Dowling said Siemens hopes to create a network of facilities to focus on diverse industries such as artificial intelligence, robotics and data analytics.
He added: “We want to create a destination. There is no reason why we in the North of England should not be leaders in the world of railway production.
“We want to specialise in robotics, AI and data analysis as well as create a haven for SMEs and start-ups to come to.
“We are in a brilliant position in Hull and East Yorkshire to really change the dynamic around skills and get many more people into engineering.
“You only need to look at the knock-on effect the AMRC had in South Yorkshire and the positive impact that had. We want to do the same in East Yorkshire.”
Siemens has submitted a planning application for an innovation hub near the factory’s site, the first phase of a series of new buildings that would host specialist digital and analytical centres to help design, build and service the rail industry.
Mr Dowling claimed the facility being developed near Goole would have the capacity for developing high-speed rail networks in future decades with the aim that the North of England should be at the heart of this new era of travel.
The Goole railway factory itself was given approval by planning chiefs at East Riding of Yorkshire Council a few weeks ago. Once completed, it will cover 860,000 sq ft of manufacturing, commissioning, warehouse buildings and stabling sidings, as well as offices.
Construction is expected to begin by the summer, with the first phase of manufacturing facilities scheduled to open in 2023.