Royal opening: the Prince of Wales address guests at the opening event on 21 February as CAF’s CEO Andrés Arizkorreta looks on. Behind them is a Class 195 driving vehicle wearing a special livery to mark the opening event.

Prince Charles opens CAF’s Newport factory

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales officially opened CAF’s factory at the Celtic Business Park near Newport, South Wales on 21 February.

The factory opened its doors in September 2018 and is the result of a £30 million investment by the Spanish manufacturer with grant support from the Welsh Government’s Inward Investment Programme.

Initially CAF has built Civity DMUs at Newport, with 44 Class 195 vehicles for Northern and 60 Class 196 vehicles for West Midlands Trains. After that will be all 77 trains in a 180-vehicle order for the Wales and Borders franchise. Newport will build 51×2-car and 26×3-car Class 197s, and the first bodyshell is due to be delivered to Newport in March with production ramping up next year.

Newport is the base for the CAF UK rolling stock division. The factory houses a staff of over 200, including office-based functions, with broadly half engaged in train assembly. This number is set to grow to around 300 as CAF expands.

CAF says Newport could build a range of trains from light rail to high-speed, including for export abroad. The factory has scope to expand, including the setup of further production lines and options for additional land within the Celtic Business Park if needed.

For full details about CAF’s factory, its facilities, workload and future prospects, see our detailed feature in the March issue of Modern Railways, on sale 27 February.

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