Derby manufacturer Bombardier Transportation has been named as the preferred bidder for a major rolling stock order to be produced for the United Kingdom’s Department of Transport.

The UK government announced it has awarded the East Anglia franchise to Abellio East Anglia, who will operate the franchise starting October 2016. The franchise includes rolling stock and Abellio has selected Bombardier to supply British-built carriages. The franchise will introduce more than 1,000 new carriages, 660 of which will be made in Derby, cutting journey times between Ipswich, Norwich and London. The £1bn contract, which will secure up to 1,000 jobs in the city for the next decade, is expected to be finalized within the next few weeks.

Richard Hunter, UK Managing Director at Bombardier Transportation said,

“Being named preferred bidder for this significant order is a fantastic endorsement of our workforce and the quality of the products we design, engineer and manufacture here in the UK and will ensure a stable, long-term workload for our staff here in Derby. Our modern AVENTRA trains will provide passengers with greater connectivity, reliability and shorter journey times.”

Des McKeon, UK commercial director at Bombardier Transportation, said:

“We’re delighted to be chosen, pending final contract signing, as the preferred supplier for new trains for the East Anglia franchise.

“We look forward to working with our customer the Abellio UK, to support them in transforming rail services throughout the region and delivering an enhanced customer experience through the provision of new trains.”

Transport secretary Chris Grayling added:

“We are making the biggest investment in the railways since the Victorian era. By awarding this franchise to Abellio East Anglia we will improve journeys for people in East Anglia.

“Abellio’s decision will ensure our train building industry in Derby remains strong. This is part of our plan to make an economy that works for everyone – not just the privileged few – by ensuring prosperity is spread throughout the country.”

The Rail Forum Midlands also contributed to the media coverage when the news broke last week; RFM Manager, Elaine Clark gave BBC Radio Derby listeners an insight into importance of the region’s supply chain in supporting the manufacturing process.

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