Rail company Hitachi has unveiled the first of its new 125mph Intercity Express trains that are being built in County Durham.
The state-of-the-art £82m factory at Newton Aycliffe was opened in September 2015 with the aim of ultimately creating 900 new jobs at the site.
The first of the new trains were unveiled at a ceremony attended by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy, and Japanese ambassador Koji Tsuruoka.
Boswell, managing director of Hitachi Rail Europe (HRE), said: “Today
is a celebration of the return of train manufacturing to the North East,
supporting thousands of jobs and developing a strong engineering skills
base in the region.
“Trains running across the country’s rail
network will be built by a proud workforce harnessing the best of
Hitachi’s long standing rail expertise. The company that built the world
famous bullet trains is now building the next generation of UK trains,
which will deliver a step change in intercity travel, offering more
capacity, greater comfort and a lower carbon footprint.
committed to the transformation of UK rail. As our new IEP (Intercity
Express Trains) trains become operational, they will bring UK rail
travel firmly into the 21st century.
“Today’s launch comes at an exciting time for UK rail and we welcome
the Government’s recent commitment to further investment in rail
infrastructure and the digitisation of Britain’s railways. As a global
rail pioneer, our cutting-edge digital technology and long-term
commitment to the UK means Hitachi is well positioned to deliver these
exciting programmes and transform passenger journeys.”
Masai, chief operating officer of Hitachi’s railway systems business
unit, Hitachi, Ltd, said: “It was 90 years ago in 1926 that a senior
Hitachi engineer first visited the North of England to study the leading
edge railway technology of the time. Today, we have a modern intercity
train built in the North East by combining the best of Japanese
technology delivered with the best of British manufacturing.”
investment in County Durham is part of plans to employ 2,000 people
across 14 sites around the UK. The company also hopes to support
thousands of jobs in the supply chain.
David Horne, managing director of Virgin Trains East Coast,
which will see production of its new trains at Hitachi next year, said:
“It’s a great privilege to be given a tour of these new facilities
which will provide a big economic boost for the North East.
factory will also start producing our new Azuma trains in 2017 and
we’re looking forward to them entering service and transforming the
experience on the East Coast.”