The skeleton of an iron subway car for Singapore and an aluminum one for Barcelona just a few meters away. But there is also a tram under construction for Casablanca or a train for Luxembourg nearby. With 11 different orders in the backlog worth 800 million euros, the Alstom factory in Santa Perpètua de Mogoda (Barcelona) has reached saturation and has begun a transformation process that should allow it to increase its production capacity by 25% in a anus. The spigot of this change is the award of the Renfe mega-contract, which has meant for the Catalan factory an award of 201 trains with six cars each for the Spanish Cercanías services.
“Renfe’s orders will end up concentrating half of the factory’s hours. They are going to feed us for the next five years”, says the director of the facilities, Cristina Ardériz. The company calculates that the order from the Spanish public operator will absorb 500,000 hours of work from the factory in 2025, when the production of the Coradia HC series convoys will be at peak performance. The factory is currently at 800,000 working hours and expects to reach one million hours in twelve months. To assume this workforce, Alstom plans to hire around 190 additional workers until March 2024, which will be added to the around 1,050 direct jobs it currently employs.
The Spanish public operator awarded the largest contract in its history in March 2021: 211 high-capacity trains for Cercanías for an amount of 2,445 million euros to increase its capacity by 20%. Alstom Transporte, the Spanish subsidiary of the French group, secured a total of 152 trains in a first tender, to which another 49 were later added in December 2022. Both awards total an amount of 1,800 million euros, including parts spare parts and maintenance. Stadler’s Valencian plant and CAF’s were the other beneficiaries of the contests.
An operator works inside a future train at the Alstom plant in Barcelona.Albert Garcia
This workload aims to be the maximum capacity of Alstom’s facilities. Among other things, because it will also have to build ten trains (of five cars each) similar to those of Renfe for the shuttle service to El Prat airport that will be operated by Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat (FGC) and the rest of the orders that it has pending. . The plant, inaugurated in 1994, does not allow for much more, after having taken advantage of the last square meters it had available to try to provide itself with more capacity: it has outsourced the warehouse and moved it a couple of kilometers away from the factory to gain production space.
Ardériz has assured this Tuesday that he rules out that the plant could have problems that endanger employment within a period of five years. This is good news after the gradual increase in production, which suffered a drop in orders in 2014 due to the effects of the Great Recession in Spain, which forced the opening of markets in Europe and overseas. From the Alstom factory, which in Spain had a turnover of 660 million euros in the last published financial year (2022), 340 train cars and 110 complete trams come out per year. The facilities had half a thousand jobs in 2020, which contrasts with the 1,200 that it expects to reach by the end of this year. The investments to update the facilities will be around 20 million euros in the next two years.
Alstom today builds subway cars for Singapore, Santo Domingo and Barcelona; trams for Frankfurt, Casablanca, Cologne and Barcelona, and trains for Luxembourg and Spain. There is no ship in which there is no work in the 6,800 square meters of built area: from where the elongated structures of frames, ceilings and walls are prepared to the area where they join; from the areas where all the electrical and interior parts of the wagons are installed to where the first electrical tests are carried out.
Metro cars for Barcelona outside the Alstom plant in Santa Perpètua. Albert Garcia
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