Siemens Mobility to invest £100m in state-of-the-art factory in Chippenham, UK

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Siemens is embarking on a groundbreaking £100 million investment to establish a cutting-edge rail infrastructure manufacturing, digital engineering and research & development (R&D) center in Chippenham, underscoring its unwavering commitment to innovation, sustainability, excellence, and its campaign ‘to build in Britain with Britain built in’.  

The new facility, set to replace the existing factory in 2026, is poised to be a cornerstone for Siemens’ future projects in rail technology, providing an efficient site to build the next generation of conventional and digital rail signaling and control systems for Britain. The transition, including the transfer of all local staff, totaling around 800, will not cause any interruption in production. 

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said: 

“This new commitment from Siemens is a big boost for Britain’s world-class manufacturing sector and shows our plan for the UK to be the best place to invest and grow a business is working. 

“This digital technology will improve the safety, reliability and connectivity of our railways and drive sustainable opportunities in higher-paid jobs and exports – as part of our plan to grow our economy.” 

Rob Morris, Joint CEO of Siemens Mobility in the UK & Ireland said: 

“This £100 million investment is a strong commitment to Chippenham and our country. Siemens Mobility’s Chippenham site, along with our 30 sites across the country, has been transforming rail travel and transport in Britain – and it will continue to do so with cloud-based rail technology connecting the real and the digital worlds, digitalizing rail. We are very excited to soon start construction of one of the most sophisticated rail factories, digital engineering and R&D sites in the UK, supporting local jobs and skills for the future. There’s a piece of Britain in everything we build.” 

Siemens’ new Chippenham site 

Siemens’ new Chippenham site, located south of Langley Park at SouthPoint Business Park, will feature an office built to the highest BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standard. The production and warehouse areas will meet strict sustainability criteria, evaluated across various categories including energy, water, waste, health, well-being, or materials. This promotes structures that are more sustainable and beneficial for society and the environment.  

The factory is being constructed with the latest standards for highly efficient production, while the offices are designed to provide a modern, welcoming work environment to enable better collaboration and innovation for the UK railway. The interior will be modelled to account for the ‘new normal’ with many open and collaboration and meeting spaces, better facilities, relaxation areas and improved technology. The site, designed to blend in with its surroundings, will undergo an ecological assessment aiming for a 10% net increase in biodiversity through the planting of native plants and the creation of wildlife habitats. 

Legacy of Excellence: Siemens in Chippenham 

Chippenham, the UK’s sole dedicated signaling and control facility, has been integral to Siemens’ success in the United Kingdom and globally. The current factory, a hub for designing, manufacturing, and delivering signaling and control systems, has played a pivotal role in major projects such as the Elizabeth line, North Wales Coast, Birmingham New Street, and numerous global initiatives. 

The current Siemens factory in Chippenham has a rich history, dating back to its establishment by signaling contractor Evans O’Donnell in 1897. Over the years, it underwent various transitions, including being acquired by the Westinghouse Brake & Signaling Company, before becoming part of Siemens global network of rail infrastructure production facilities in 2013. Siemens Mobility, a global leader in intelligent transport solutions, has been at the forefront of rail technology for over 175 years. 

Five Key Innovations from Siemens’ Chippenham site: 

Siemens’ investment in the new Chippenham facility signifies not just a commitment to cutting-edge manufacturing but also a celebration of the site’s historical significance. As a hub of innovation for over a century, the Chippenham factory has continuously pushed the boundaries of rail technology, leaving an indelible mark on projects both in the UK and globally. 

  • Elizabeth, Victoria, and Central lines (Metro Signaling): The Chippenham site has been instrumental in the digital signaling technology driving passenger journeys on the Elizabeth line. The communications-based train control (CBTC) signaling and control system for the central section of the Elizabeth line, engineered and integrated in Chippenham, enables high-frequency and automated train operation. The Victoria line, where trains arrive every 100-seconds at peak times, has also benefited from the company’s intelligent digital technologies since it opened in 1968. 
  • East Coast Digital Programme and Trackguard Westrace: Chippenham played a vital role in developing computer-based interlockings in the 1980s, forming the foundation of technology used today on the East Coast Digital Programme and Thameslink before that. This collaborative effort with partners, including Network Rail, aims to transform the East Coast Main Line into the UK’s first digital intercity railway, resulting in 40% industry cost reductions, 30% reduction in delays, and enhanced safety. 
  • Modular Technology: The application of modular technology, tested in Chippenham, has significantly improved connections for local communities on the North Wales Coast, reducing costs and carbon footprint. This modular approach is now being extended to open the Northumberland Line to passenger traffic and update signaling between Devon and Cornwall. 
  • Development of Relays for Railway Signaling: Siemens Mobility’s Chippenham factory has been a key player in creating electrically operated switches, known as relays, since they were first introduced to the rail network as a safety feature in the 1900s. With a track record of supplying more than two million relays across 95 countries and counting, the factory has continued to maintain its market-leading position. 
  • Centralised Traffic Control: Chippenham was at the forefront of delivering the first centralized traffic control systems in the UK in the 1920s. Today, Siemens’ centralised traffic control and associated systems are in use across the UK, showcasing innovations like Dynamic Conflict Resolution, which has been successfully employed in projects such as Merseyrail. This innovation allowed for the addition of an extra service during the Grand National horse race, demonstrating the adaptability and efficiency of Siemens’ technology which responds to conflicts in real time. 

For further information please see siemens.co.uk/chippenham  

Image credit: Siemens Mobility

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