Talgo: Very High-Speed Rail Comes to Chesterfield

Press Release: There was every reason to be cheerful today, as Talgo UK and Chesterfield Borough Council took another step forward towards bringing advanced rail skills and technology to the town.

Talgo is a leading specialized rolling stock engineering company mainly focused on designing, manufacturing and servicing technologically differentiated, fast, lightweight trains, with a presence in 44 countries.

Talgo UK recently established a Head Office in Chesterfield, and confirmed ambitions to develop an ‘Innovation Centre’, co-located with Barrow Hill Roundhouse.

The company has ambitions for the UK that include not only Chesterfield, but also a major manufacturing plant at Longannet, in Scotland. The two sites will work together to ensure that the expertise and knowledge needed to build and export ‘state of the art’ trains will be embedded in the UK.

Talgo UK has a philosophy of ‘true manufacturing’. Instead of assembling kits from overseas, the company intends to reinvigorate the UK supply-chain, and source from it wherever possible. This approach upskills workers, protects jobs, and keeps more money in the local and national economies of the UK.

Now those ambitions are becoming a reality, with an anticipated ‘framework agreement’ between Chesterfield Borough Council and Talgo UK, and the delivery of a very-high-speed rail vehicle to the site, for training and education purposes.

Perhaps more Tangible to the casual observer, is the delivery of one of Talgo’s 250kph coaches, which comes with Talgo’s world-beating and unique ‘Rodal’ technology installed. The coach was today gifted to Chesterfield Borough Council.

Talgo’s basic design is highly-flexible, and the type of coach gifted has been put to use on overnight trains between Paris and Madrid. Other examples are being ‘upcycled’ for use at 330kph on Spain’s very-high-speed lines radiating from the Spanish Capital.

The ‘Rodal’ forms an essential part of the running gear (the wheels and suspension) on Talgo trains.

The running gear of most trains would be easily recognisable by the railway pioneers of the 19th century, as it retains the same basic features.  However, Talgo trains have independent wheels and guided axles. The Talgo system massively reduces weight, saves energy, and has been proven to reduce wear and tear on the track. A more detailed explanation is included at the end of this release.

Talgo is bringing its technology to the UK, as part of a programme to explain new technologies, to transfer knowledge to the UK and to boost UK domestic capacity for Research and Development. Chesterfield will play a key part in the process, coordinating efforts across the UK.

Talgo is renowned worldwide for its innovation, its unique technology, and reliability. A key part of Talgo UK’s strategy is ‘knowledge transfer’ – building UK domestic capacity for Research and Development.  Today’s activities pave the way for the ‘Innovation Hub’ – which will act as a focal point for Talgo UK’s Research and Development, bringing together networks of engineering excellence, and creating new opportunities throughout the British Isles.

Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, Said:

 ‘Today’s event and the gifting of the Talgo high-speed technology vehicle, symbolises the culmination of our efforts over the last 2 years as part of Talgo’s ‘all Britain Strategy’     

I am extremely pleased that Talgo remains committed to Chesterfield and shares our ambitions to maximise the opportunities presented by unprecedented growth in the rail sector and transformational infrastructure projects, including HS2.   

I am delighted to announce that in February Chesterfield Borough Council expects to enter into a framework agreement with Talgo UK. 

The agreement will recognise the recent establishment of Talgo UK’s Headquarters here at Barrow Hill and will set out the milestones for the delivery of an Innovation Centre from where Talgo will develop its ‘all Britain Strategy’. 

Talgo’s proposals for the Innovation Centre follow a major piece of collaborative work, involving key partners including Barrow Hill Engine Shed Society, Chesterfield College, The University of Derby, Newcastle University’s NewRail and Midlands Rail Forum. 

We have worked together in commissioning Focus Consultants and Maber Architects to progress a feasibility and RIBA stage 2 design study, bringing us closer to realising the ambition of DRIIVe (Derbyshire Rail Industry Innovation Vehicle).  DRIIVe encompasses a modern rail innovation and training centre that will deliver over 3400sqm of floorspace, 190 jobs and a complete pathway of rail provision from level 2 through to level 7 for 1800 learners over 10 years.

We are very grateful to Talgo for donating this piece of equipment and look forward to seeing it being used as an aid for learning.’

Carlos de Palacio, President of Talgo, said:

‘I am delighted to deliver a high-speed present from Spain today. This is part of Talgo’s plan to generate better understanding of Talgo’s technologies that are being used around the world, but which have so far eluded the UK.

‘Talgo’s strategy of ‘true manufacturing’ – and not relying on brainpower or kits of parts from elsewhere – requires that innovation and Research and Development takes place in the host country.

‘I hope that it is not long before we see the next generation of Talgo’s products built in the UK, with technical knowledge and innovation being provided by a team headquartered in Chesterfield, and drawing on the knowledge and expertise of the whole UK’.

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