A "SIGNIFICANT milestone" in plans to bring a rail manufacturing plant to West Fife has taken place.

Train-maker Talgo, together with Scottish Enterprise and Transport Scotland, has signed a jointly-agreed framework for the establishment of Longannet as a manufacturing base for Talgo UK.

The agreement is part of arrangements to ensure that the firm will be ready to deliver contracts that it is currently bidding for – and future bids – should the company be successful.

The document sets out each party’s commitment to ensure that the proposed multi-million pound factory at the former power station site is prepared and delivered at an agreed time and to an agreed specification.

This milestone will ensure that Talgo will meet contracts that are being evaluated and proposed.

Talgo president Carlos de Palacio y Oriel said: "We are committed to Scotland in our bid process. Today’s milestone marks a new phase in an excellent relationship with 'Team Scotland’.

"Now let’s get on with securing orders that will bring more jobs and ‘true manufacturing’ of rolling stock back to Scotland."

Scottish Enterprise executive director Paul Lewis added: “This framework agreement is another significant milestone in our work with Talgo to achieve its ambition of establishing a world-class, high-value manufacturing facility at Longannet.

“Scottish Enterprise and our partners are incredibly excited by Talgo’s plans for Longannet, which would deliver 1,000 direct jobs and a host of supply chain opportunities for companies in Scotland."

Talgo announced last November that Longannet was their preferred site for building high-speed trains as part of £40 million investment plans.

A total of 1,000 direct jobs are set to be created, as well as 6,000 in the local area.

When they made the announcement, Talgo said it would take 18 months for their factory to be built after securing an order.

Work on building the plant would begin the day after an order was placed. They made a bid in June to land the HS2 contract, with its latest generation of rolling stock, AVRIL, being the basis of their bid.

However, after a review of the HS2 project was announced in August, they reiterated to the Press that their plans for Longannet would not be dependent on securing that contract.

Talgo is a leading specialised rolling stock engineering company mainly focused on designing, manufacturing and servicing technologically-differentiated, fast, lightweight trains.

The firm aims for ‘true manufacturing’ so, instead of assembling kits of parts from overseas, it wants to source components from within the United Kingdom. This approach, it is hoped, will grow the UK’s manufacturing capability, strengthen supply chains, create more jobs, and boost local economies.

The proposals for the Longannet site has also strengthened the argument for bringing back the Dunfermline to Alloa rail link for passengers.

Go Forth Kincardine currently have an application with the Local Rail Development Fund to carry out a feasibility study into reopening the West Fife route.