CAF agree partnership with Global Centre of Rail Excellence

  • CAF sign agreement to use world class South Wales innovation facility

The Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE) has welcomed Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) as the latest international railway manufacturer to sign up to use the services at its testing and innovation facility being developed in South Wales.

The Spanish rail giant has agreed to use the GCRE facility and a range of services, including rolling stock and technology testing; digital signalling development and wider product innovation.

GCRE Chief Executive Simon Jones signed the partnership alongside CAF Commercial Director Julen Barrutia and CAF UK Director Richard Garner at the Global Centre of Rail Excellence recently. During their visit, the CAF team were able to take a tour of the 700-hectare GCRE site.

CAF is an international leader in the design, manufacture and maintenance of equipment and components for railway systems, including rolling stock and innovative new rail technologies. CAF has a production base in Newport, just 45 miles from the GCRE site.

The Global Centre of Rail Excellence is a major new research, testing and certification facility for rolling stock, infrastructure and cutting edge new rail technologies currently being constructed in South Wales. The new facility is being built to support a growing rail innovation market across Europe.

The deal will see GCRE support CAF with its rolling stock and digital signals testing. The manufacturer was recently announced as the supplier of ten long-distance tri-mode trains for London North-Eastern Railway (LNER) to be used on the East Coast mainline. The partnership will also allow CAF to use the GCRE facility to undertake fleet maintenance as well as staff training and development.

GCRE Ltd Chief Executive Simon Jones said: “CAF are one of the major names in global rail and its fantastic to develop this partnership at our new facility in South Wales. The facilities and services we will have available at the Global Centre of Rail Excellence site will support the development of CAFs next generation rolling stock and the innovative new traction technologies they are working on.

“It’s great news that CAF have recently been announced as the supplier of ten long-distance tri-mode trains for London North-Eastern Railway (LNER) to be used on the East Coast mainline. We look forward to supporting CAF with its rolling stock testing programme.

“In particular, our unique to Europe infrastructure testing facilities will support CAF with high quality signals testing and new digital product development, opening up new commercial opportunities for the company, particularly in the transition to net zero. As the UK and Europe move towards decarbonisation, the facilities that GCRE can provide become ever more critical.

“With CAF having a production facility in Newport, not far from the GCRE site, this collaboration makes a lot of sense and we are looking forward to working with the company in the different areas of work and high quality innovation they are involved in.

“This is a long-term partnership and further highlights the growing commercial confidence in the Global Centre of Rail Excellence as more blue-ribband international manufacturers and operators sign up as customers at our world class facility.”

Julen Barrutia, CAF Commercial Director said: “We have worked with GCRE since its inception and formalising our relationship is the natural next step. GCRE will be a unique facility and we are fortunate to have it so close to our manufacturing facility in Newport.

“We look forward to collaborating with GCRE on research and development programmes and growing the rail industry in Wales.”

Richard Garner, CAF UK Director said: “We’re incredibly excited about the partnership and in particular the opportunity it presents for us to test our trains locally.

“We believe GCRE will become a hub, a key asset for the rail industry, a place where the next generation for rail technologies will be developed and tested.

“We are looking forward to being part of that community.”

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