THE Parkside site in Newton-le-Willows is in the running to be the location of Spanish train manufacturer Talgo's first UK base, potentially creating 1,000 jobs.

It will compete with Leeds and Chesterfield in England, and Hunterston and Longannet in Fife in Scotland and Mostyn in Flintshire, Wales, with a decision expected next month.

Talgo said that even unsuccessful bids should result in supply chain opportunities for those areas, the BBC reports.

The train builder specialises in the design, manufacture and servicing of fast lightweight trains.

The company's interest in the Newton-le-Willows site was reported last year.

Its trains operate in 28 countries including Germany, the USA and Saudi Arabia.

Talgo plans to manufacture rolling stock at its new UK base rather than assembling parts made overseas which it said should result in more jobs and more opportunities for UK suppliers.

The president of Talgo, Carlos de Palacio, said it will draw from materials and expertise across the UK.

"Although there can only be one factory site, we have developed excellent relationships with areas that we have visited.

"We anticipate continuing these relationships to ensure that Talgo provides opportunity across the UK."

St Helens Council, with support of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and also working with the Combined Authority, have been working with Talgo for more than a year on the project.

The shortlisting announcement was made today at an event in Birmingham held by Talgo to announce the manufacturer's plans in the UK, as well as providing an opportunity for representatives from the shortlisted locations to showcase their strengths.

St Helens Council Leader, Cllr Derek Long said: "We’re competing hard across the UK to bring these high quality jobs to the borough and are committed to ensuring that not only does St Helens attract a greater volume of jobs but the highest quality of jobs too.

"This is why we have been actively working with partners to try and bring Talgo to St Helens as we see high-quality train manufacturing jobs as exactly the type we would like to see come to the borough.

“The borough has a great manufacturing tradition and an exceptionally skilled workforce.

"We are also mid-way between Manchester and Liverpool which means we can tap into a fantastically diverse labour market while Newton-le-Willows itself has been a centre for train production in the near past.

“We believe that Newton-le-Willows, and St Helens more widely, would provide the ideal location for Talgo to locate their UK operation.”

The investment could see train manufacturing ‘coming home’ to the borough that gave the world the first commercially operated train following the Rainhill Trials, which celebrate their 190th year in 2019.

It could also bring manufacturing back to Newton-le-Willows which was home to one of the most famous factories – the Vulcan works.

The announcement from Talgo follows on the plan for major investments at the M6 Major site as well as the relocation of Movianto into St Helens.

Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North, said: “My constituency and the wider borough of St Helens has a fantastic heritage when it comes to railways and would provide an ideal location for Talgo to base a new UK factory.

"Not only did the Rainhill Trials take place in the borough, but one of the first manufacturing facilities for trains in the world was situated in Newton-le-Willows in the very same area to which we are trying to attract Talgo.

"Combine that tradition, with a highly capable workforce, and great connectivity and you have an ideal location for a high speed train manufacturer.”