Manchester, 2nd May, 2014 – Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd. today announced that it has selected Manchester-based Lucchini UK to supply the wheelsets for the new Great Western Main Line (GWML) and East Coast Main Line (ECML) trains it is building for the Intercity Express Programme (IEP).
The confirmation comes as Jamie Foster from Hitachi Rail Europe and Chris Fawdry from Lucchini UK put pen to paper on the contract at a signing ceremony at Lucchini UK’s factory in Trafford Park, Manchester.
The contract will see Lucchini UK develop and produce around 3,500 wheelsets for the GWML and ECML trains covered under phase 1 of IEP. Contracts for similar provisions on phase 2 of IEP are expected to be completed in summer 2014.
The wheelsets and related components have been designed in Hitachi Rail’s factory in Kasado, Japan, in collaboration with Lucchini RS engineers in Lovere, Italy. Lucchini RS has validated the final design of the wheel, axle and wheelset and have subsequently received TSI approval for circulation in the EU. Production is taking place in the Lucchini UK Manchester facilities, after which the wheelsets will be sent to Hitachi to be fitted to their own bogies.
Lucchini UK has affirmed that, as a result of the contract, jobs for the majority of their workforce have been secured. It’s expected that five additional shop floor roles will be created once serial production starts in 2015. The Manchester-based company is also doubling their apprenticeship intake over the year to accommodate the workload.
Jamie Foster, Procurement Director, Hitachi Rail Europe said: “Lucchini are recognised as one of the world leaders in wheelset manufacture. This is a supplier with whom we have had a long-term relationship on other programmes. As part of the IEP, we conducted an extensive and competitive tendering process for wheelsets. This process reaffirmed to us that we were already working with the right partner who can match our expectations on quality and reliability. This award sees Hitachi Rail move into a long-term commitment to Lucchini.”
Chris Fawdry, Managing Director of Lucchini UK, said: “The IEP contract is fundamental to Lucchini UK. It confirms our place at the forefront of high speed wheelset technology and manufacture and is a recognition of the excellent service that we maintained when we supplied to Hitachi all the new wheelsets for the Javelin trains that are so successful on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link between St Pancras and the South Coast, a level of service that we continue to provide now for the maintenance of those same wheelsets and gearboxes.”