Hopes were raised today that a British trainmaking company that recently lost out to Germany on a big UK order could win a £1 billion contract for the cross-London Crossrail scheme.
The Government has faced much criticism since it awarded the Thameslink contract to Siemens of Germany rather than Derby-based Bombardier which has since announced 1,400 job losses.
The Government has decided to review the EU procurement rules and today the Crossrail company said the award for the contract for its new trains - for which Bombardier and Siemens are among the bidders - would be put back from 2013 to 2014.
Crossrail said this deferment would allow the conclusions of the Government's procurement review, which could benefit UK companies, to be taken into account.
Bombardier and Siemens are competing with Hitachi Rail Europe and Spanish company Construcciones y Auxiliary de Ferrocarriles SA for the Crossrail contract which will see 200m-long trains able to carry up to 1,500 passengers travelling on a route as far west as Maidenhead in Berkshire to as far east as Shenfield in Essex.
Crossrail programme director Andy Mitchell said: "Crossrail has identified that significant operational cost savings, running into tens of millions, can be realised for taxpayers by introducing Crossrail rolling stock to the rail network over a shorter period of time.
"Continuing with the original procurement programme would have delivered the new train fleet earlier than was necessary."
Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said: "The Tory-led Government announced a one-year delay to Crossrail in the spending review to take £1 billion out of the costs, so this is nothing but spin.
"The truth is that the delay to the project has nothing to do with improving procurement at all.
"If ministers are now saying it's possible to review the Crossrail contract, they must explain why they have cost British jobs by refusing to do the same for the new Thameslink trains as Labour has repeatedly demanded."
Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT transport union, said: "This is an admission by the Government that they got the Thameslink contract wrong and as well as learning lessons for the future they should now do the decent thing and award that work to Bombardier in Derby before it is too late.
"There is now no excuse for the destruction of train building in the UK and if the Government fail to reverse the Thameslink stitch-up before it is too late they will stand accused of playing politics with people's livelihoods."