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Train building to return to the North East
I had a good morning in Newton Aycliffe where I joined the welcome for the start of the construction phase of Hitachi Rail Europe’s new multi million pound train factory.
It was announced today that the factory will be built by North East based business Shepherd Construction with jobs for 150 workers and many more from the supply chain over the 18 month build out. Once the factory is opened there will be opportunities for a further 730 jobs in highly skilled fields such as engineering and design. Hitachi’s first order will be the fleet of 122 Class 800 series trains for the East Coast Main Line and the Great Western Main Line as part of the Intercity Express Programme.
I was introduced to Alastair Dormer, Hitachi Rail Europe’s Chief Executive who said that they were building what they hoped would be an iconic factory which will be manufacturing trains for Europe and the UK. He also said that he was keen to see a successful HS2 programme so that they could build those fast trains for the future too.
Phil Wilson MP for Sedgefield within whose constituency the new factory will sit at Merchant Park talked to me about some reading he had been doing about the history of the railway and how the original line of the Stockton Darlington railway passed next to the proposed site. I was minded to think about the terrible day when the Shildon Wagon Works closed in 1984 and how great it will be to see trains built once again in the home of the railway.
Hitachi have been building trains since 1924 (in Japan initially, opening up in the UK in 1999) and are very excited to be moving to the North East.
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