William Cook lands massive Canadian export contract

Yorkshire manufacturing giant William Cook Rail has won export orders that could be worth millions of pounds to supply critical components to the world leader in light rail systems.

Sir Andrew Cook, chairman of William Cook Holdings
Sir Andrew Cook, chairman of William Cook Holdings

The family-owned business will manufacture structural parts for bogies on Alstom’s range of Citadis Spirit light rail vehicles for service in Ottawa, Canada.

These are among the most complex and highly specified cast steel components in the market and will be precision engineered at the company’s new £15m rail plant in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

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The Citadis Spirit vehicles are designed for high capacity transport of passengers between suburban areas and the city centre and can operate in the most extreme weather conditions.

Alstom has won a €400m contract to supply light rail vehicles and maintenance services to the the Rideau Transit Group consortium, which is responsible for the €1.5bn light rapid transit system.

The system is expected to enter full service in spring 2018.

William Cook Rail is supplying an initial order of five train sets and a follow-up orders could cover many more trains.

The two export orders will run throughout the next three years and are the first to be won since the extensive refurbishment of the Company’s factory in Leeds.

Alstom has produced 1,600 Citadis tramways for 40 cities around the world, making it a market leader in light transit systems.

The Ottawa project marks its entry into North America and it is promoting the Citadis Spirit to other cities across the United States and Canada.

Sir Andrew Cook, chairman of William Cook Rail, said: “We have invested millions of pounds in William Cook Rail to allow it to compete on a global level.

“These export orders demonstrate the world-class engineering capabilities that exist here in the North of England and send a message to the Government that ‘buying British’ must be at the top of the political agenda if it wants to have a successful and thriving economy post Brexit.”

Charles-Frédéric Boisson, Domain Director Metallic, Alstom said: “When it comes to the sourcing strategy for steel casted parts, Alstom has adopted a real dynamic way of working. We aim to build experience with a global panel of mature suppliers such as William Cook, and support and reward them when they demonstrate operational excellence and competitiveness on past projects.

“The latest Citadis Spirit related business is the outcome of multi-cultural teams from Alstom and William Cook working together.”