Funding has been secured to manufacture train carriages at Hitachi Rail Europe’s £82m Newton Aycliffe plan, the firm has confirmed.
The factory in Newton Aycliffe is due to start making trains for the Great Western and East Coast lines from spring 2016, employing at least 730 workers.
The £2.7bn contract will will boost services between London and Scotland, with 500 carriages set to be produced from the County Durham facility.
The trains will start running on the East Coast Main Line in 2018 as part of the government’s £5.7bn Intercity Express Programme.
Hitachi announced that the British Department for Transport and Agility Trains have reached financial close for the fleet of Class 800 series trains.
Toshiaki Higashihara, president & COO of Hitachi, Ltd. said: “I am extremely pleased that a total of 866 Hitachi train cars will be running in the UK, which is the birthplace of railways.
“I would like to express my very sincere gratitude to all those involved, and particularly to the members of the Japanese and British governments who offered their strong support and invested great efforts in bringing this project to fruition.
“ Hitachi will continue to provide highly reliable, comfortable passenger services with low environmental impact, by establishing a new manufacturing base equipped with the world’s most advanced production facilities.”
Alistair Dormer, Hitachi Rail Global chief executive officer of Hitachi, Ltd. said: “I am delighted by today’s news of financial close for the last tranche of trains for the Intercity Express Programme.
“Agility Trains has successfully raised the finance for this important infrastructure investment in the UK, bringing all contractual and financial agreements to a close.
“For Hitachi Rail, today’s announcement signals a new phase in the Intercity Express Programme.
“With all finance raised, our teams across the UK and in Japan, jointly with Agility Trains, can now fully focus on delivering all aspects of this programme, which will bring major improvements for passengers across two of the busiest train routes in Britain.
“The construction of our train factory in County Durham is under way and we are looking forward to seeing all Class 800 series trains for the East Coast Main Line being manufactured by our 730 staff in north east England.”
Patrick McLoughlin, transport secretary, said: “These new trains will transform rail travel between many of the great towns and cities of England and Scotland.
“This deal is further proof that our long-term economic plans are on track, creating jobs and breathing new life into the UK’s train-building industry.”