MORE than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Mayor of London to review a decision not to award a £1.5bn contract to a North-East train builder, after it emerged production would be moved to Austria.

Last week, The Northern Echo exclusively revealed Siemens will manufacture two-thirds of the new 94 Deep Tube trains to serve the London Underground's Piccadilly line in Vienna.

The decision is understood to have been taken because firm's new factory in Goole, East Yorkshire will not be operational until 2023, the year when the first Deep Tube carriages are expected to be delivered.

Politicians from all parties and union bosses joined the calls first made by Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson for a review into the decision, and now more than 1,250 people are urging Transport for London and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to review the decision.

Last year a joint bid between Newton Aycliffe-based Hitachi and Bombardier lost out in the bidding process, a decision which was condemned by Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson, claiming Mr Khan and Transport for London had "undermined their commitment" to UK manufacturing and Siemens had "pulled the wool over their eyes".

The Unite union described the overseas production revelations as "deeply concerning" and "totally unacceptable", whilst Conservative Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen described the decision as a "kick in the teeth" for Hitachi, whilst Labour MPs Alex Cunningham and Anna Turley said they were "appalled" and "devastated" respectively.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The Deep Tube procurement process started in 2014, under the previous Mayor. Sadiq was not involved in the decision to award the contract to Siemens and TfL followed strict procurement rules, as they do when taking all decisions of this nature.

“The procurement process assessed bidders’ proposals against a range of criteria, including train design and their commercial proposition. Like all public bodies, TfL is legally restricted from favouring one bidder over another on the basis of the country where contractual obligations are fulfilled.

“Siemens’ plans to build a new manufacturing plant in Goole, announced at the time of the contract award, were not part of the decision making process although Sadiq is of course keen to see a new manufacturing facility built in the UK.”

Last week, union bosses also warned Hitachi, which employs about 750 permanent staff, was facing an "increasingly concerning" future when current orders for new trains run out next spring as there are currently no new orders in the pipeline.

A Hitachi spokesperson said previously they believe their offer was a "more advanced design and better value for money, and would have provided a greater boost to the economy in London and the rest of the UK".

To sign the petition, click here.