French rolling stock manufacturer Alstom has revealed it is in emergency talks with the UK’s Transport Minister Hark Harper that could save its imperiled factory at Derby’s Litchurch Lane. 

Harper met with Alstom Group CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge for what he described as “intensive discussions.” 

Alstom UK confirmed the talks, which also included Transport for London, surrounded rolling stock for London’s newest train line. 

“We are now in a period of intense discussions with the UK Government and Transport for London about a potential train order for the Elizabeth line, given the levels of passenger demand,” the company said on X (formerly known as Twitter). 

Although the minister did not mention the dire state at Alsom’s UK rolling stock facility, Alstom confirmed the discussions “could help secure the future of our Derby Litchurch Lane site.”

Alstom said on 2 April it had “run out of time” to keep the facility running. 

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As a result of an 18-month production gap at the site, Alstom has been discussing solutions for its 1,300+ employees in Derby. It has already stopped employing casual or freelance staff at the site. 

The meetings suggest there is progress being made, which will enthuse labour unions which have been calling for such conversations to take place.

“Alstom and the Government now need to stop endlessly procrastinating and just get on and sign the contracts to ensure the security of thousands of highly skilled workers. If their inaction does lead to job cuts, the responsible people will be held to account personally,” said Sharon Graham, the general secretary of Unite, when the shutdown appeared imminent. 

Both Alstom and the UK government said the talks would be swift, and would be concluded “no later than the end of May”. 

TfL has been contacted for comment.