More than 900 jobs will be created and thousands more secured after transport secretary Justine Greening approved a £4.5 billion contract to supply Britain with the next generation of intercity trains.
In a major boost to the UK’s manufacturing industry, 596 railway carriages will be built at a brand new train factory in the north east of England.
Agility Trains, a consortium made up of Hitachi and John Laing, has been awarded the contract to build and maintain the trains under the Intercity Express Programme (IEP), the project to replace Britain’s Intercity 125 trains with new higher capacity modern trains.
Hitachi will assemble an intercity fleet of 92 complete trains at a new purpose-built factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, in the process creating 730 skilled jobs with a further 200 jobs during construction of the factory itself and securing thousands more in the UK supply chain.
The company will also locate its European rail research and development capabilities on the site which will further enhance the factory’s ability to win rail contracts across Europe.
As well as building the new state-of-the-art assembly facility, Hitachi will construct maintenance depots in Bristol, Swansea, west London and Doncaster, and will upgrade existing maintenance depots throughout Britain.
The announcement comes on the eve of the Global Investment Conference in London where the Government will kick off the largest series of trade and investment events ever held in the UK involving more than 3,000 business leaders, policy-makers and ministers from around the world, and half the companies in the FTSE 100.
Greening said: “A new train factory is fantastic news for Britain and will be welcomed by everyone who wants to see a thriving UK manufacturing sector.
“It means 730 new skilled jobs created at the factory, 200 jobs in constructing the plant and thousands of jobs secured in the supply chain.”