Alstom in the UK

Over 100 years of contribution to the United Kingdom's infrastructure

Every day, around a third of all rail journeys in the UK are made on Alstom trains. We keep Virgin’s West Coast Main Line service running for around 34 million passengers every year and we service over 100 tube trains a day on London’s Northern Line, carrying nearly 1 million passengers daily. Today, we’re helping to turn Crossrail’s tunnels into a fully operational railway, electrifying the Edinburgh to Glasgow rail line and are helping the UK’s Rail Supply Chain to get ready for HS2. 

To help design, build and maintain the UK and Ireland’s large scale rail infrastructure we have invested, innovated and developed the world’s most sophisticated engineering and new rail technology. From Train Scanner, our world-leading virtual train health checker, to Appitrack, the fastest track laying machine in the world, our engineers are helping to make Britain's railways better. Our signalling and electrifcation activities are nationwide and are delivering the next generation of technology to help improve timetables and ensure safety on the railway whether on projects or the installed asset sacross the country.

Welcome to Alstom UK

Alstom has an impressive history in the UK dating back to the dawn of the railway, and we have been involved in some of this country's most significant and innovative rail transportation infrastructure such as HS1, Manchester Metrolink, Network Rail’s Signalling and electrification systems, Nottingham Tram and half the trains on the London Underground.

We provide world-class development and training facilities for our employees and our industry partners. Additionally we invest in longer-term skills development through partnerships with the UK’s best education providers and skills development organisations as well as our own well-established intern, apprentice and graduate programmes.


Alstom has formed solid partnership with local players

  • ABC Electrification: A partnership comprised of Alstom, Babcock and Costain, three market-leading companies in design, engineering and delivery, the JV offers focused turnkey solutions for the UK market.
  • ATC: A joint venture between Alstom, TSO and Costain specifically designed to win the contract to fit out and commission Crossrail’s tunnels. The Alstom-led joint venture will fit out the 21km of twin tunnels that will stretch under London with the track and power equipment necessary for Crossrail trains to operate from 2018. 

Nottingham Tram Extension

Alstom and JV partner Taylor Woodrow completed work on the Nottingham Express Transit (NET) extension allowing millions of Nottingham commuters to have comfortable and eco-friendly journeys into and out of the city.

The expanded network has more than doubled the existing tram line, with 17.5km of new track and 28 new stops to the South and Southwest of the city, with the extension linking directly with the existing NET Line One at Nottingham Station. The total tram network is now 32km in length, serves seven parks and ride sites, and is able to cater for up to 20 million passenger journeys a year. 

Pendolino maintenance

We maintain Virgin Trains' Pendolino fleet from five traincare centres around the country, including regular heavy engineering overhauls where thousands of components are replaced or upgraded.

Other references


EMU Projects

  • Pendolino fleet for Virgin Trains – we have supplied the 56 Pendolinos currently running on the West Coast Main Line, having also carried out heavy engineering overhauls on the fleet, and converted 31 trains from nine-car to 11-car sets
  • HS1 – we supplied 38 trainsets that operate between London, Paris and Brussels

Infrastructure – Crossrail

  • The Alstom-led ATC joint venture is currently fitting out 21km of twin Crossrail tunnels under London with the track and power equipment necessary for trains to run from 2018

Infrastructure – HS1

  • An Alstom-led joint venture delivered the final 20 km of track and overhead line for the final phase of the Paris-London High Speed 1 line to budget and on time

Infrastructure - Electrification

  • West Coast Power Supply Upgradeo Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Project




  • Metro Northern Line: we service 106 trains on London Underground’s busiest line and guarantee to have 91 in operation every day
  • Metro Northern Line: Rolling stock maintained from traincare centres at Morden and Golders Greeno NET Phase 2
  • NET phase 2: Alstom has supplied 22 Citadis trams to serve the Nottingham tramway
  • NET phase 2: The trams form part of an extended fleet of 37 vehicles operating across the newly extended system


  • Preston is our centre for traction motors and modernisation


  • Signalling Solutions Ltd is our integrated signalling business which holds three of the eight UK licenses for interlocking

Alstom UK&I Sustainability Vision 

Alstom recognise the importance of implementing a sustainable business model which supports the transition to sustainable transport systems in order to ensure the long-term success of our planet. Alstom UK and Ireland therefore commit to embedding sustainability into every element of our organisation – from reducing the carbon footprint of our work sites through to increasing the diversity of the rail industry workforce. As a sustainable business by nature, we pride ourselves on delivering a wide range of innovative and environmentally friendly technologies and solutions. 

Our Sustainability Vision is ‘to be the preferred partner for sustainable transport solutions that enable our growing population to reach their destination efficiently, whilst enhancing our communities and environment’.

CSR strategyWe will balance community, economic and environmental aspects through the development and implementation of Alstom UK&I Sustainability Strategy which has 10 Focus Areas centred on our global four pillar Sustainability and CSR Policy. The Focus Areas are sustainability aspects of most relevance to our activities where we face the greatest opportunities and highest risks. Within each Focus Area, we have set a suite of ambitious objectives for achievement by 2020 and agreed annual targets in order to monitor and report on progress whilst continually reviewing and improving our processes and ways of working.

Nick Crossfield - Managing Director Alstom UK & Ireland

To learn more about Alstom's sustainability strategy, visit our Sustainability section.


A long and proud history of Alstom in the UK

Alstom has operated in the UK in one form or another for almost 200 years, with predecessor companies including such famous names as Robert Stephenson & Co, Edison Swan, English Electric and, probably most famously, GEC.

That history means that we have operated in Rugby for almost 125 years and in Stafford for well over 100, have made rolling stock for the Tube for 80 years, and helped invent both the jet engine and the hologram.

Today we are famous for our Pendolino trains operating on the West Coast Main Line, for servicing Northern Line rolling stock and for building some of the UK biggest infrastructure projects such as Crossrail and the National Electrification Programme.

1823: Robert Stephenson & Co founded to build railway engines 

1829: Stephenson's Rocket is built for, and wins, the Rainhill Trials, held to determine which locomotive would be best for the planned Liverpool and Manchester Railway (also constructed by RS&Co) 

1880: Dick Kerr & Co is founded in Kilmarnock, Scotland, to build steam locomotives to haul tramcars.  It expanded in 1897, choosing to do so on a disused site in Preston – the same site still occupied by Alstom more than 130 years later 

1918: English Electric Company is formed, taking over Dick Kerr & Co

1938: Metropolitan-Cammell provides London Underground stock for Northern, Bakerloo, Piccadilly, East London and Central Lines 

1961: English Electric begins production of the Deltic diesel-electric locomotive, the most powerful diesel locomotives in the world at that time 

1969: English Electric merges with GEC under the short-lived name The General Electric and English Electric Company 

1989: GEC Alsthom formed from merger of power and transport activities of Compagnie Générale d’Electricité and GEC 

1989: Metropolitan-Cammell’s railway business sold to GEC Alsthom 

1998: The company becomes Alstom as it floats on the London, New York and Paris stock exchanges 

1999: Alstom and Fiat Ferroviaria jointly receive the largest ever contract of its kind to supply and maintain 53 Pendolino tilting trains to Virgin trains for use on the West Coast Mainline  

2007: Alstom delivers the final section of the HS1 London-Paris line, the first high speed rail line in the UK 

Dec. 19 2014: Alstom Shareholders Meeting authorises the sale of the Alstom Energy businesses to General Electric

2015: Alstom acquire the joint venture Signalling Solutions.

2015: Alstom finalises the sales of its energy activities and is entirely focused on Transport

Widnes: A new home for rail in the North West

Alstom is the world’s smartest rail manufacturer with big ambitions for the UK and Ireland. We are developing a state-of-the-art technology centre and training academy in Widnes that will bring jobs and skills to the North West of England and benefits to the whole of the UK.

Our new Widnes site will create high quality manufacturing jobs and a wide range of training opportunities.

  • Over 130 jobs will be created by summer 2017 when the technology centre opens with the potential for many more.
  • Our first contract at the technology centre is the repainting of the Pendolino fleet, used by Virgin on the West Coast Main Line.
  • The Alstom Transport Training Academy opens in September 2017. The academy will support 65 apprenticeship places in its first year, 30 of which are upskilling our current team. It will deliver 15,000 training days a year when open fully.

Our Widnes facility will generate wider social and economic benefits to the North West region and to the UK rail supply chain

  • We are working in partnership with the Social  Mobility Foundation to support young people in  Liverpool into further and higher education through the Alstom Foundation.

At over 13,000 sq ft, it will be the largest site in the UK for this purpose and the most efficient thanks to its bespoke design, embracing highly advanced Industry 4.0 principles. (virtual painting training, for example).

Our Training Academy will:

  • be open for customers, suppliers and Alstom internal staff alike;
  • focus on level 3 and 4 Engineering Apprenticeships initially;
  • In collaboration with other providers, a strong curriculum based on digital technologies and lean manufacturing techniques are being developed;
  • develop the next generation of engineers;reach out to local schools in support of the STEM agenda.
Pendolino painting project

The first contract we will deliver at the site will be the repainting of the Alstom-built Pendolino tilting trains used by Virgin Trains on the West Coast Main Line. We will be using the latest technology and engineering to do so.

The most productive modernisation facility in UK with three 265m roads spaced at 10m widths, designed to latest standards in terms of lighting, heating and ergonomics. The facility incorporates various lifting and crane options, along with three state of the art vehicle paint booths. When coupled with modern processes driven by Industry 4.0 vision, plus the ability to train staff in a word class environment, the facility is designed to be the most productive for paint and heavy modernisation globally. 

Mike Hulme Director of Trains & Modernisation, Alstom UK & Ireland