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Contract puts Chinese company on track for expansion into UK

By CECILY LIU | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-04-03 18:08

China's biggest manufacturer of trains has just grabbed its first order from the United Kingdom, agreeing to supply 71 vehicles for the London Underground.

Contract puts Chinese company on track for expansion into UK

A London Underground tube station sign in front of Parliament in London, March 1, 2002.  [Photo/Agencies]

The value of the order has not been revealed but it is known that the wagons will be in service in 2019. They will be used to carry materials, such as track panels and bulk materials, that will be used for London Underground maintenance work.

"The new wagons will provide a major boost to our track renewal and maintenance programs," said Ash Nanu, a London Underground project manager. "For the first time, we will have wagons designed specifically for our use and the environment within which we have to operate."

The order is the first for UK rolling stock that has been won by CRRC and paves the way for CRRC to tackle wider opportunities, such as bidding to take part in the UK's High Speed 2 project, which connects London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester, and is currently in the procurement process.

CRRC expanded into the UK in 2015 with the aim of bidding for contracts connected to local train projects and to conduct research and development into pioneering train technologies along with three partner universities-Imperial College, the University of Birmingham, and the University of Southampton.

Qiu Yi, an associate professor at the University of Southampton, said the fact that CRRC won the London Underground order demonstrates its ability to design and manufacture cargo trains in competition against international players.

"The successful winning of the train contract, for the first time from the UK, will have positive and profound influences on the future in bringing more CRRC products into the UK and European markets," Qiu said.

He added that CRRC has made great progress on research and development and train manufacturing in recent years, and noted that more international market share could be won if CRRC continues to "improve durability, reliability, safety and passenger experience".

In 2015, CRRC's overseas sales reached 26.6 billion yuan ($3.86 billion), accounting for 7 percent of its total sales. The company aims to boost its overseas sales to 35 percent of total sales by 2025.

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