Hitachi Rail Europe is pushing forward with plans for the construction of its new train manufacturing plant at newton Aycliffe in County Durham.
Merchant Place Developments has signed a contract with Hitachi to progress the £82 million brand new manufacturing hub. The factory will initially be used to build the Super Express Trains for the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line.
It can then be used for other orders such as building Crossrail rolling stock – should Hitachi Rail Europe be the successful bidder. Hitachi places great emphasis on employing locally where possible and the factory will create long- term employment for 730 people. This figure includes a Research & Development department. It is expected that 200 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the factory.
Says Alistair Dormer, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hitachi Rail Europe, ‘The close of contract with Merchant Place Development signals a new phase in Hitachi’s commitment to the British rail industry. By investing substantially in our train factory, we are creating employment opportunities for a large number of engineers and technicians in the North East of England, which has a strong tradition of engineering skills. We are keen to fill our order books, building trains here in the UK – for use in Britain and for exporting to continental Europe.’
The close of contract between Hitachi Rail Europe and Merchant Place Developments enables the developer to award further contracts for the building of the plant. Currently an archaeological exploration is being carried out on the site, which will take approximately three to four months.
Construction of the plant is expected to start at the end of 2013, with the factory scheduled to go into production in 2016. The Super Express Trains should enter passenger service in 2017.
The decision to build a manufacturing plant was taken after Hitachi Rail Europe won the contract from the Department for Transport (DfT) to replace the ageing fleet of diesel-powered Intercity trains currently running on the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line.
The contract with the DfT was signed in July 2012. Hitachi Rail Europe had singled out Newton Aycliffe as its preferred site for its manufacturing plant, after evaluating over 40 sites throughout the UK.