Hundreds of jobs are at risk at a historic train builder after it was revealed the owner could pull the plug on its Leicestershire operation.
Some 300 jobs are threatened at Brush Traction in Loughborough under plans drawn up by its American owner Wabtec.
LeicestershireLive is reporting that staff at the historic plant, in the town’s Meadow Lane, were informed of the decision last Friday.
The website contacted the manufactuer’s Pittsburgh-based owner for comment – but understands the site, established in 1865 as The Falcon Works, could close by Christmas with its work being transferred to other plants.
Brush Traction makes locomotives and power systems for passenger trains and has operated out of the town in one form or another since 1865.
Its work includes railway vehicle design and manufacturing as well as overhauling electric motors, diesel engines and rail components.
The wider Wabtec Group, which bought the business a decade ago, supplies components and equipment to the rail industry and services such as rolling stock repair and refurbishment.
The Unite union has 100 members at the Loughborough factory and said it was in redundancy consultations with company managers.
It has described the decision as a “crushing blow” for the workforce and the town as a whole.
Unite told LeicestershireLive the company said reducing volumes of work made the Loughborough operation unsuitable.
Regional officer Lakhy Mahal said: “Wabtec’s announcement that it is planning to shut the historic Falcon Works is a crushing blow to the workforce and to the local area.
“Unite is in consultation with the company and is fighting to ensure that our members are offered alternative employment at other sites, if that is what they want.
“If it isn’t, we will be negotiating for them to receive the best redundancy packages possible.
“Unite will also be putting together a programme of support for members to help them navigate what is an extremely difficult time.”
The Rail Business UK website has reported a Wabtec spokesman saying: “Decisions like this are never easy but over the past few years, our site has experienced reduced volume and this decrease is no longer sustainable.
“The decision to close the plant would ‘help to simplify and optimise the company’s manufacturing footprint in today’s cyclical environment, as well as better position Wabtec for success.”