Planes, trains, automobiles... and sledges: Derby's manufacturing history

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts under construction, Derby, c1912. Rows of these hand-built cars at various levels of completion. Rolls-Royce moved to Derby in 1908 to build its successful Silver Ghost car

Related Stories

The announcement that Bombardier has won a £1bn contract to build Crossrail trains in Derby has been welcomed as a "great boost" for the East Midlands.

The deal, to build 65 trains, is the latest chapter in Derby's proud manufacturing history which can be traced back to the world's first fully-mechanised factory - a silk mill built in 1724.

Here is a selection of what the city has helped give to the world's rails, roads... and slopes.

Tilting trains
Technology for the tilting APT emerged in Derby

The Advanced Passenger Train was one of the most celebrated innovations to emerge from the former British Rail Research Division in Derby.

Bob Gwynne, associate curator of rail vehicles at the National Railway Museum, said Derby was "the last man standing" among towns and cities with proud train building pasts and had always strived to innovate.

"Round the country there are places that have long associations with building railways but Derby is really the last survivor," he said.

line break
The Shanghai Maglev
Shanghai Maglev train

The Maglev was another concept born at the research division.

Mr Gwynne said the centre's legacy was "virtually every train that goes over 125mph anywhere in the world".

The first Maglev ran in Birmingham, Mr Gwynne said. The high-speed version now rattles through Shanghai.

line break
Racing to the chequered flag
Sergio Perez leaves the pit lane for a test lap, during the launch of the RB10 2014 Formula 1 car, during the 2014 Formula One Testing at the Circuito de Jerez

Talking of speed, Derbyshire's EPM Technology supplies parts for five Formula One teams, including Force India.

EPM Technology managing director Graham Mulholland said manufacturing and engineering was "in the city's DNA".

"There is about 300 years of engineering history in the city and you can really feel that," he said.

"I think here in the East Midlands we are particularly good at making things happen and in Derby, we make things that make things happen."

line break
Rolls-Royce comes to town
Andrew Marr in a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

In 1908, luxury car maker Rolls-Royce moved to Derby to a custom-built factory.

Its Silver Ghost car proved so successful it expanded from its Manchester base, paving the way for a lengthy partnership with the city.

The classic vehicle was dubbed "the greatest car in the world" at the time and proved enormously successful for the firm.

line break
Derby dreams
A Boeing Dreamliner plane and a Spitfire

Today, think of Derby and many people think of Rolls-Royce. Its plant in Sinfin employs thousands of people and supplies engines to the world's plane industry.

The latest project includes the Trent 1000 engine manufactured in the city, used to power about half of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet.

To say thanks to the people at Rolls-Royce, a flypast of the state-of-the-art liner was arranged alongside a Spitfire - with a Griffon engine also built in Derby.

line break
Chocks away
Lancaster Bomber

Well before the luxury passenger plane, another Rolls-Royce aviation landmark played a key role in World War Two.

The Derby-designed Merlin engine powered Royal Air Force planes including the Lancaster Bomber, the Spitfire and the Mustang.

Almost 170,000 engines were produced for 40 different aircraft and the design has been credited with helping to win the war.

line break
Future industries
Martin Guy on a sledge

Derby is not just at the cutting edge of public transport. EPM Technology, in a showcase of its skills with carbon fibre, built the world's fastest sledge.

Piloted by Guy Martin, it reached a top speed of 83.49mph on the steep slopes of Andorra.

The firm, currently based in Draycott near the city, is building a new headquarters, next to Rolls-Royce where it can double its workforce of 75 staff.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Derby

Weather

Derby

18 °C 15 °C

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.