Train parts are pulled through the Bombardier plant in Derby

Crossrail contract decision delayed

The decision on who will build new trains for the £16bn Crossrail scheme has been delayed.

Rail bosses will choose between Bombardier, Siemens, Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles SA (CAF) and Hitachi Rail Europe Limited to build carriages for the rail line, running through London from west to east.

The review comes after Derby-based train manufacturer Bombardier lost out on a £1.4bn contract to supply rolling stock for the Thameslink route between Bedford and Brighton to German company Siemens.

Canadian company Bombardier, the last remaining train-maker in Britain, said it would be forced to axe 1,400 jobs after losing out on the contract.

In delaying the Crossrail decision, UK companies are less likely to lose out to European competitors, the BBC has reported.

The announcement of the delay was met with anger by critics who questioned why the review could not be applied to the Thameslink contract, which was finalised in June.

"If ministers are now saying it's possible to review the Crossrail contract, they must explain why they have cost British jobs by refusing to do the same for the new Thameslink trains as Labour has repeatedly demanded," said Maria Eagle, Labour's shadow transport secretary.

"This is an admission by the Government that they got the Thameslink contract wrong and as well as learning lessons for the future they should now do the decent thing and award that work to Bombardier in Derby before it is too late," said RMT general secretary Bob Crow.

"There is now no excuse for the destruction of train building in the UK and if the government fail to reverse the Thameslink stitch-up before it is too late they will stand accused of playing politics with people's livelihoods."

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