Two locations in Scotland have made it onto a shortlist of six sites in the UK that are in the running for a new train-building plant.
Spanish firm Talgo announced last year that it was looking at possible sites for a factory that could employ up to 1,000 workers.
A shortlist unveiled today includes Hunterston on the Ayrshire coast and the former Longannet Power Station site on the Forth in Fife as potential hosts. They are adjacent to or near deep water ports for the import of materials and export of completed trains.
There are four other shortlisted locations – three in England and one in Wales.
Talgo is a specialised rolling stock engineering company mainly focused on designing, manufacturing and servicing fast, lightweight trains with an industrial presence in 28 countries. It is the rolling stock provider for the Haramain high speed railway line between La Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia and provider of the new Avril train to Spanish operator Renfe.
The firm said that it aimed to enter the UK rail market through “true manufacturing” rather than assembling kits of parts brought in from overseas, with a positive knock-on effect for the local supply chain and jobs.
The shortlist represents the latest phase in a search that has lasted 18 months and involved “detailed discussions” with land owners, development agencies, local authorities, research establishments, schools, colleges and universities.
A final decision on a factory site is anticipated next month.
Carlos de Palacio, president of Talgo and the grandson of the company’s founder, said: “The establishment of a manufacturing facility in the UK is a significant part of Talgo’s future strategy.
“Talgo’s aim is to establish true manufacturing – rather than assembling from parts made elsewhere. This means that we will draw from materials and expertise across the UK.
“This keeps more money in the UK economy, and creates more skilled long-term jobs.
“Although there can only be one factory site, we have developed excellent relationships with areas that we have visited. We anticipate continuing these relationships to ensure that Talgo provides opportunity across the UK.”
De Palacio was due to attend a briefing in Edinburgh today to outline the shortlisted locations. Paul Lewis, MD of Scottish Development International, and Frazer Henderson, head of high speed and cross-Border rail policy at Transport Scotland, were also attending.