Talgo unveiled one of its high speed coaches in Kincardine as it reaffirmed its commitment to bringing 1,000 jobs to Fife.
The Spanish engineering firm has struck an agreement with Scottish Enterprise and Transport Scotland to transform the former Longannet Power Station site near Kincardine into a manufacturing hub for high speed trains.
Talgo bosses, including the firm’s president Carlos de Palacio, arrived in Kincardine this week and a train carriage was parked outside the community centre to show residents what could soon be built on their doorstep.
Talgo UK managing director Jon Veitch said: “This is a special day for Talgo, to actually show the commitment to Kincardine and the local community, the schools, the colleges, all the people that are going to support us over the longer term, by actually bringing one of the high speed coaches to Scotland and Kincardine so people can see the Talgo technology first hand.”
Local politicians including the co-leaders of Fife Council, Labour’s David Ross and the SNP’s David Alexander, turned up, along with Douglas Chapman MP and Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP of the SNP.
Schoolchildren were brought in groups to the community centre to hear about the project while local traders had the chance to meet Talgo management to discuss supply chain opportunities.
It has been estimated that as many as 5,000 indirect jobs could be created by the factory.
Outline planning permission for the redevelopment of the Longannet site was granted in December and it is hoped work on the first trains could start next year, pending announcements about contracts.
Talgo is currently bidding for work on the UK Government’s multi-billion pound HS2 project.
However, the firm has said the success of the Fife manufacturing base does not depend on any HS2 deal, with a wealth of potential export opportunities.
Mr de Palacio said: “Our intention is to open a real factory, which manufactures, not only assembles.
“We visited different places in the whole of the UK but this was the best for a number of reasons. There are good communications by railway, by road, by sea and by air. It’s between Edinburgh and Glasgow and has the infrastructure that we need.”
The area has been hammered by job losses over the years, historically with the decline of the coal mining industry and the closure of Longannet Power Station in 2016.
Mr Chapman said Talgo’s commitment to Kincardine was “the kind of news that we all need”.
He added: “We’re moving from old technologies using coal to new technologies that will be lower carbon, by supplying trains not just in the bid for HS2 but across the world.
“I think it will pick up the whole community.”
Ms Somerville added: “There’s a real opportunity for west Fife and for Scotland to play a leading role in the rail industry.
“This isn’t just an assembly line, it’s much, much more than that.
“I have a lot of hope that this will actually be real delivery of high quality manufacturing jobs in west Fife.”