News in brief

Virgin slammed

Engineering Employers’ Federation director-general Graham Mackenzie has slammed Virgin’s West Coast train service. Writing on behalf of the EEF’s 3,000 members, who regularly use the service, Mackenzie complained of poor timekeeping, overcrowding and the poor state of rolling stock.

BP building work

BP is to build ethylene and ethanol plants at its Grangemouth and Hull chemicals sites. Thousands of jobs will be created in the £500m construction project but permanent jobs will total just over 200.

Research network

The Engineering and Physical Research Council is funding a UK-wide electronics manufacturing engineering research network. It aims to promote a recognised body of high-quality research into electronic product design and manufacture.

Buying power

Berensden Fluid Power, maker of hydraulic and pneumatic components, has bought Liverpool-based Powerflow Hydraulics, a flexible hose and couplings supplier.

Japanese investment

TRB, a subsidiary of Tokai Rika Company of Japan, is to invest £6m and create over 150 jobs at St Asaph, Clwyd, in a project to make automotive components.

Highbright acquired

German company Zwick, manufacturer of testing machines, has acquired the Highbright Holding group.