A £1.6bn new train contract which has been mired in controversy has been given to a German, rather than a UK firm, it has been confirmed.
The contract for 1,140 new carriages for the Thameslink rail route has gone to a consortium led by Siemens of Germany rather than to Bombardier of Derby.
Siemens, whose selection over Bombardier was much criticised, said it expected the contract would create up to 2,000 jobs.
Hailed by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin as "a boost for UK Plc", the contract will see the first new train running on the cross-London Thameslink route in 2016.
The introduction of the full fleet by the end of 2018 will enable a 24-trains per hour service to operate through the capital at peak times.
In October 2009 the Labour government announced that the two remaining short-listed bidders for the contract were Bombardier and Siemens.
There are reports tonight that the Thameslink contract to supply 1,140 new carriages has gone to Siemens, a German firm, not the Derby-based firm Bombardier - a big blow for UK manufacturers.
Delays in awarding the contract to build the trains for the Government's Thameslink upgrade may have put the project in jeopardy, a public spending watchdog says.
The National Audit Office (NAO) says the delays cast doubt on the government's ability to deliver a major upgrade of the key rail route by the 2018 deadline.