ALSTOM Group CEO, Mr Henri Poupart-Lafarge, met with British transport secretary, Mr Mark Harper, on April 16 to discuss the future of the train manufacturer’s Derby plant.

Harper posted later on social media that there had been “a good constructive meeting on the future of train manufacturing in the UK.” He added: “intensive discussions are taking place to conclude no later than the end of May.”

Alstom released a statement saying: “we are now in a period of intense discussions with the UK government and Transport for London about a potential train order for the Elizabeth Line, given the levels of passenger demand. This could help secure the future of our Derby Litchurch Lane site.”

The statement continues: “the parties have agreed to conclude discussions as soon as possible and no later than the end of May. We will be making no further comment at this time.”

Around 1300 jobs of those employed directly at the site, plus up to 15,000 in the wider supply chain, are hanging in the balance as the Derby factory has no orders before the assembly of high-speed trains for HS2 is due to start next year.

Between 2015 and 2019, 79 nine-car class 345 EMUs were built at Derby by Bombardier (later acquired by Alstom) for London's Elizabeth Line. It is understood that a follow-on order of 10 trains would be sufficient to allow manufacturing to continue at Derby until new orders are placed. It is currently unclear how the additional trains would be funded.