Train manufacturer Hitachi Rail Europe has been praised for supporting inward investment after revealing 72% of all suppliers needed for its £1.2bn Intercity Express Programme have been sourced within the UK.
A 30-strong list of suppliers for the first phase of the Government programme has been unveiled by the firm, which is currently constructing its mammoth manufacturing facility at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
And of the parts, systems and operations that Hitachi Rail Europe could have sourced from the UK for the new trains, 72% have been purchased from UK-based businesses, including three from the North East.
The supply chain includes windows from Durham-based Romag, onboard servers from Nomad Digital based in Newcastle, and passenger counting systems from Gateshead-based Petards.
Business Secretary Vince Cable MP said: “Hitachi’s decision to work with suppliers from across the country shows that the UK is advancing as a global leader in rail manufacturing.
“The Government is committed to helping companies attract inward investment to develop strong, coordinated and competitive supply chains here in the UK.
“We have created a new Rail Supply Chain Forum to help British businesses win work both here and abroad and I am greatly encouraged to see that world leading companies such as Hitachi are placing their confidence in UK suppliers.”
The supply chain announcement cements the company’s commitment to supporting UK businesses and developing the rail supply chain, and follows the announcement earlier this year that Hitachi Rail would be moving its global HQ to London, a sure sign of the Japanese giant’s confidence in the growing UK rail sector.
Jamie Foster, procurement director at Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “We are delighted to be working with so many suppliers from across the UK in building our new Class 800 series trains for the Intercity Express Programme.
“Given the high requirements for quality and reliability of our trains, we were keen to work with companies that share our values in this regard.
“As the first three pre-series trains are now being manufactured in our factory, I cannot emphasise enough the high quality and quantity of services our suppliers have provided on the project thus far. We will continue working closely with each of them across the rest of the manufacturing and delivery schedule.”
The Journal told in August 2013 how Consett-based glass manufacturer Romag secured a five-year deal worth several million pounds to produce parts for the Intercity Express Programme.
Phil Murray, managing director from Romag, said: “Securing this contract has been significant boost for Romag, its employees and our supply chain.
“We needed to secure long-term contracts to secure the future of our business and the Intercity Express Programme contract came at a critical time.
“It has also provided a springboard from which other contracts may be secured with other train builders as well as Hitachi. We are delighted that Hitachi have shown such confidence in the North East and I’m confident we won’t disappoint.”