A deal has been finalised between the government and Hitachi for the supply of 596 new rail carriages. The agreement includes the construction of a new factory in County Durham which will help to preserve thousands of manufacturing jobs and create 900 new ones. The Newton Aycliffe site will also become the home of Hitachi’s research and development centre for rail which should help to secure future contracts.
The new rolling stock is due to be completed for the east coast by 2018 and will be introduced onto the Great Western mainline a year earlier. Agility Trains was told that it was likely to win the train building contract worth £4.5 billion in 2009, but there have since been numerous delays to its finalisation.
Justine Greening, the UK’s Transport Secretary, said the news that a new train factory is to be built in Britain would be welcomed across the manufacturing sector. She added that the contract for new intercity trains meant that passengers could look forward to faster journey times in more comfort.
Ms Greening went on to say that Hitachi was the latest international firm to decide to invest in the UK and hoped that the new factory would be as successful as Sunderland’s Nissan car plant.
The new intercity express trains will replace the 125s and will provide passengers with more space and greater comfort. They will also be able to accelerate faster than existing high speed trains meaning that journey times should become significantly shorter.