HomeRail NewsTrain building makes grand return to North East England

Train building makes grand return to North East England

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Prime Minister David Cameron made a surprise appearance to mark the official opening of Hitachi’s new train manufacturing site in Newton Aycliffe.

The £82 million facility is Hitachi’s only European train factory and will support the company’s activities both in the UK and on the continent.

The Newton Aycliffe site is connected to the original Stockton and Darlington Railway. The new IEP trains, built by Hitachi Rail Europe, will take to the rail network on the same stretch of track once worked by George Stephenson’s steam engine, Locomotive No.1.

Newton AycliffeThe official opening of the centre heralds a step change in train travel in Britain. Hitachi Rail Europe will provide new electric and bi-mode trains, for the Great Western Main Line, ScotRail and the East Coast Main Line.

As the factory opened, First Hull Trains confirmed another order – a £68 million contract for five bi-mode units.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This massive investment from Hitachi shows confidence in the strength of Britain’s growing economy.

“This new train factory will not only provide good jobs for working people but will build the next generation of intercity trains, improving travel for commuters and families, as well as strengthening the infrastructure we need to help the UK grow.”

The Department for Transport’s Intercity Express Programme (IEP) is designed to replace the ageing fleet of High Speed Trains (HSTs).

Under IEP, new Class 800 series trains will improve reliability and reduce environmental impact. A fleet of AT300 trains will run primarily from London Paddington to Plymouth and Penzance, replacing the 40-year-old trains currently serving this key intercity route.

In further developments 46 three-car and 24 four-car AT200 EMU trains will operate in Scotland from late 2017. The first seven trains will be built in Hitachi’s Kasado factory in Japan, with the remaining 63 assembled at Newton Aycliffe.


  1. Finally. Hitachi has now officially opened the new facility in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. Hopefully once the jobs are applied then they can carry on manufacturing and building the IEP Class 800 and Class 801 trains.

  2. Whilst this is undoubtedly a welcome development, particularly for the North East, let’s not get carried away. The Newton Aycliffe facility is (as I understand it) simply an assembly plant. Nothing is being “manufactured” there, i.e. there is no input of raw materials onto a production line. All of the high value work is still taking place abroad. So at Newton Aycliffe they only “build” trains in the same way that I “build” a wardrobe from Ikea.

  3. Whilst this is good news for the UK and in particular the North East, in my purely personal view it is sad to think that over 50 years ago, locomotives and rolling stock for British Rail were built by British companies. Nowadays however, we have had to rely upon multinational companies based in Japan, Canada, Germany, France and the USA to provide our trains, even though those companies have established facilities here. However, as Jeff Hawken correctly says Newton Aycliffe will be a mere “screwdriver” assembly plant with the majority of high-tech equipment coming from Japan. Cameron seems to take great delight in praising foreign companies for “investing” in the UK and he is often seen visiting their facilities. Although I think it is now too late for any British engineering company to move into actual train building, the Government should nevertheless start assisting more domestic supply companies to grow their businesses on a global basis.

  4. I agree with Jeff, all the big bucks jobs, manufacture and design see our £s flood out to Japan, this just helps kill real manufacturing of trains in the UK


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