Alstom’s rolling stock factory in Derby, UK will remain open after the manufacturer secured a £370m ($469m) contract for 10 new Aventra trains for London’s Elizabeth line. 

The factory, threatened by closure due to a lack of incoming orders, has been a point of contention after the French company first warned about its struggles, leading organisations such as the Unite union to call on the government to take action

Now, the UK Government confirmed that it had made funding for the new trains available to Transport for London (TfL) after reviewing its business case and agreeing that new rolling stock was needed to meet expected growth on the new line. 

Nick Crossfield, Alstom’s managing director for the UK and Ireland, described the UK as one of the company’s “most important global markets”, he said: “We are delighted to now have a confirmed workload for Derby Litchurch Lane and our supply chain across the UK.” 

In addition to construction of the 10 nine-car Aventra Class 345 trains, adding to the 70 already in use on the Elizabeth line, the contract will also see Alstom supply associated maintenance for the vehicles until 2046. 

News of the deal was welcomed across the UK’s rail industry, with Unite saying it would allow workers at the factory “a huge sigh of relief” but repeating its criticism of the government for the “long hard slog” to reaching the deal. 

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General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “They should never have been in this position in the first place. The government were guilty of being asleep at the wheel. There is a huge need for new trains in this country, but Alstom was being starved of work.” 

The Railway Industry Association also celebrated the new contract and used the timing of the incoming UK General Election to call on the next government to bring forward further rolling stock tenders in the country. 

Chief Executive Darren Caplan said: “It is good that the government specifically acknowledged the strong passenger demand and future rail growth as a reason for confirming this train order. 

“Whoever forms the next government should heed this call and bring forward the much-needed invitations to tender for new procurements in the medium term across the railway.”