SIEMENS DIRECTOR OF LOCALISATION FINBARR DOWLING TALKS TO ANDY RODEN ABOUT THE COMPANY’S PLANS FOR ITS TRAIN FACTORY BEING BUILT AT GOOLE
There is a tangible sense of excitement around Goole, where Siemens is constructing a new train factory. The first trains off the line will be from the order for 94 trains for London Underground’s Piccadilly Line, a £1.5 billion contract.
Despite torrential hail when we spoke, Director of Localisation Finbarr Dowling was unable to contain his enthusiasm for a £200 million project set to offer much more than train building.
Construction started last year, and with stringent Covid safety protocols in place, steelwork is now 90% complete, with cladding of the structure at the halfway mark. Three Class 332 carriages made redundant from Heathrow Express duties are now on site (they arrived in March), and a memorandum of understanding signed with the University of Birmingham in April will set the stage for a major innovation hub. It is fair to say there is a lot happening in what is claimed to be Britain’s largest inland port.
Mr Dowling explains that Siemens has a very long presence in the UK going back to Victorian times, and that by organic growth and acquisition (such as of Invensys Rail in the last decade), its footprint is expanding. ‘It has never been our intention just to manufacture one train fleet’ he explains. ‘Our intentions are much larger. We want to reinvent how rail is done – creating an ecosystem including suppliers, and planning for developments for service including traction drive refurbishment.’