A training carriage for the Hitachi Rail Europe plant has arrived in the North East.
The carriage rolled off the 229 metre long vehicle carrier Höegh London and into the port, having been constructed at the manufacturing giant’s factory in Kobe.
The part assembled train carriage, which will become the Newton Aycliffe Hitachi plant’s training unit, was transported from Kobe Japan, travelling 52 days and 12,880 nautical miles to reach the Port of Tyne’s Höegh Northern Terminal.
The arrival of the training carriage represents a significant milestone for Hitachi Rail Europe, as a major investor in the skills development of its future workforce in the North East.
Andrew Moffat, chief executive officer, said: “The Port of Tyne has been working with Hitachi Rail, Höegh and NSA UK Ltd to ensure that this shipment goes smoothly.
“As the UK’s number one port for vehicle exports the Port regularly receives large car carriers arriving directly from Japan and has long established relationships with automotive and construction plant manufacturers including Nissan, Volkswagen, Renault, Komatsu and Audi.”
Hitachi is currently in the process of building its Rail Vehicle Manufacturing Facility at Hitachi Rail Europe in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
The plant, which represents an investment of around £82m, will be completed this, and production of the Intercity Express Programme Class 800 series trains is scheduled to begin in 2016.
In all, some 730 staff members are eventually expected to be hired, including research and development facilities staff.
Darren Cumner, manufacturing plant manager, Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “The arrival of the training carriage is a significant step for Hitachi Rail Europe’s plans to train our manufacturing staff.
“Apprentices, technicians and engineers will use this train carriage to gain in-depth knowledge of how to build trains.
“Shipping this carriage via the Port of Tyne is further testament to our commitment to working with local partners and promoting a strong local supply chain.”
The 26m long carriage will be stored at the Höegh Northern Terminal; one of three car terminals at the Port of Tyne, until it is transported to Hitachi’s training facility.
Graeme Wardhaugh, general manager at NSA UK Ltd, said: “Our experience of working with the Renault Nissan Alliance and other companies such as Hitachi Construction Machinery has allowed NSA and Höegh Autoliners to develop the required skill base which these global companies require to support their logistics requirements.”