Bombardier – what next?

I’m grateful for all the positive comments on the debate on the future of the UK train building industry, and my contribution to it. Many of you have asked “what happens next?”

The answer is that we have to keep up the pressure on the Government. We are still trying to get a meeting with the Prime Minister next week. We also need to find areas of weakness with the process and the decision to convince the Government to reconsider making the Siemens-consortium the preferred bidder.

To this end I have tabled 2 written questions to ask the Secretary of State for Transport for further details on whether the bogie that Siemens plan to use has actually been produced or tested yet. The questions are:

“Pursuant to the Minister of State’s statement  that  Siemens’ ” bogie is based on proven technology used elsewhere. Its development began in 2007 and it is expected to have undergone about 1 million miles of testing before it goes into passenger service” (Official Report, 12 July 2011, Col  23WH) to state how many miles of testing the bogie had undergone by (a) 22 October 2009 (b) 16 June 2011.”

“Pursuant to the Minister of State’s statement  that  Siemens’ ” bogie is based on proven technology used elsewhere. Its development began in 2007 and it is expected to have undergone about 1 million miles of testing before it goes into passenger service” (Official Report, 12 July 2011, Col  23WH) to state how many such bogies have been manufactured to date.”

As I said on Tuesday it does seem ridiculous that the Germans don’t want the German-manufacturer to use their untried bogies on their trains, but we’re happy to let them. What is the risk of failure? Has it been factored into the bid assessment?