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Chinese rail giant eyes £500m contract to new fleet on Tyne and Wear Metro

Image © http://i1.chroniclelive.co.uk/incoming/article12903487.ece/ALTERNATES/s810/SMR_NEC_140716_Metro.jpg

A Chinese rail giant is eyeing a £500m contract to produce a new fleet for the Tyne and Wear Metro as it aims to get a toehold in the UK market.

CRRC is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of rolling stock, employing 175,000 people and providing trains for rail operators in China, Malaysia, Argentina and the US.

The company, which recently won its first contract in the UK with an order for 71 engineering wagons for the London Underground, has a presence in the North East, having bought Wallsend-based offshore equipment manufacturer SMD last year.

Representatives of the company were in Newcastle at the end of last week and it is understood they discussed the possibility of bidding for the contract to provide new Metro trains which are hoped to come into use in 2021.

Newcastle Council leader Nick Forbes, who is chair of the Transport North East committee, has tweeted a picture of himself meeting the CRRC delegation, saying: “Good to meet Chinese business leaders from CRRC and SMD today - excellent discussion about potential future investment.”

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