YORKSHIRE has always been proud of its association with the railways and today’s landmark announcement by German manufacturing giant Siemens marks another milestone in this special relationship.
The firm – which is already powering Hull’s renaissance thanks to its green energy plant – now plans to build a new generation of trains on a 67-acre site adjacent to the M62 at Goole. It’s another economic game-changer for the area – the proposed site, which already has outline permission for industrial use, will equate, in size, to 10 football pitches.
Not only is this potential £200m investment another vote of confidence in the East Yorkshire economy – the new factory could employ up to 700 skilled engineers and create a further 1,700 indirect jobs in the supply chain – but it’s also a major boost for UK manufacturing and a railway industry which, in recent times, has chosen to order new trains from overseas.
At a time when a record number of passengers are travelling by train, either through choice or out of necessity, a new generation of rolling stock is needed not only to keep up with this demand but to replace an ageing – and increasingly unreliable – fleet.
From this perspective, Siemens has a proven track record – many of its trains already run on the country’s rail network – and the firm, together with the Department for Transport, East Riding Council and other agencies, deserve credit for recognising the opportunity and then choosing Goole for this prestigious project.
Yet, while the economic benefits will be significant, the skills dividend could be greater if this scheme, together with the new National College For High Speed Rail in Doncaster, convinces young people, and schools, about the value of careers in engineering as a new era for Yorkshire railways gathers pace.