Kittens coming home to roost

Informed Sources

Cutting edge analysis of the issues which really matter

Production finished: a West Midlands Trains Class 730 driving vehicle under construction at Alstom’s Litchurch Lane plant in Derby on 24 June 2021.
Philip Sherratt

■ Last Aventra delivered at Derby

■ Newton Aycliffe backlog under 250 vehicles

■ DfT offers all help short of actual assistance

■ Labour promising work‘at the stroke of a pen’

It is now seven years since ‘Informed Sources’ added yet another term to the railway lexicon to join boiling frogs and bionic duckweed. While everyone was getting excited about the new train orders bonanza, with manufacturers promising to open new UK assembly plants, the industry’s resident Cassandra warned no good would come of it, forecasting that when the feast ended, manufacturers would be threating ‘give us a contract or we shoot the kitten’.

And thus ‘kittens’ became industry verbal shorthand for UK rolling stock assembly plants. Subsequently, current and future rolling stock factory workloads became one of those topics this column bangs on about intermittently (I think you mean interminably –Ed).

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