Ilford depot jobs ‘safe’ despite firm losing out on major contract

Up to 125 train maintenance jobs in Ilford should be safe, despite a government decision to award a �3bn contract for new trains to an overseas consortium.

Fears had been raised about staff at Bombardier Transportation at the depot in Ley Street, Ilford, when it lost out on a chance to build carriages for the upgraded Thameslink route.

But the company told the Recorder on Tuesday that Ilford will see 35 recently created roles rise to 50 “in due course”.

The jobs, 700 yards away at the Seven Kings depot, will be to service a newly built fleet of Gatwick Express electric trains.

Bombardier’s communications director Neil Harvey said: “We are carrying out a review of our UK operations, but that doesn’t directly affect Ilford necessarily.

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“It was other sites such as Crewe which would have been dealing with the Thameslink fleet.”

Ilford South MP Mike Gapes called the government decision to award the Thameslink trains contract to Siemens a “huge blow” for Bombardier.

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He tweeted last week that he was “worried for jobs in Ilford”.

Mr Gapes, chairman of the all party Crossrail group, later told the Recorder: “Even though we have lost jobs at the depot over the years, they have managed to keep the facility in Ilford, which is one of their smallest.”

“I want to keep as many manufacturing jobs in Ilford as possible.”

The Ley Street depot carries out heavy maintenance on rolling stock made by Bombardier.

In 2006, it cut about 80 jobs, although Mr Harvey says many of these were recouped by later relocating staff to Ilford from a site in Ashford, Kent.

About 5,500 train staff are employed by Bombardier Transportation across Britain.

It has 15 centres across the country, including Plymouth, Crewe and Burton-on-Trent.

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