Hitachi Rail Europe (HRE), a global rail specialist with over 100 years of industry expertise, today celebrates the first Intercity Express (IEP) train to be built in the UK at its manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. Hitachi will be joined by the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, Minister for Northern Powerhouse, Andrew Percy, and Ambassador of Japan in the UK, Koji Tsuruoka.
HRE opened the state-of-the-art £82m facility in Newton Aycliffe in September 2015 as part of its ambition to develop a hub of industry and innovation in the North East. By Spring 2017, Newton Aycliffe will employ approximately 900 people. By 2019, HRE will employ 2,000 people across 14 UK sites, including manufacturing and maintenance facilities. A host of British businesses will continue to supply parts for new trains, supporting thousands of additional jobs countrywide.
In addition to building new fleets, Hitachi will maintain the trains at newly built facilities. By 2020 Hitachi will become one of the largest maintainer of UK trains. In total Hitachi will have 281 trains running on the UK network, carrying millions of passengers along intercity and commuter routes.
Today’s event at Newton Aycliffe will be an opportunity to view and board the first of the British-built new IEP trains and see trains being built at the facility. Attendees will witness first-hand the engineering skills that Hitachi is proud to be investing in, and will also meet with members of the team working on IEP, including some of the 50 apprentices employed at Newton Aycliffe.
The first train leaving HRE’s UK production line marks a major milestone ahead of the introduction of IEP, the £5.7bn Government-funded programme to modernise UK intercity travel. By the end of the programme, HRE will have supplied 122 modern intercity trains for passengers travelling on the Great Western and East Coast main lines, offering vastly improved levels of capacity, reliability and comfort.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:
“We are determined to take the big decisions for Britain and are investing record amounts to modernise the rail network, deliver better journeys for passengers and drive economic growth.
“This first train to roll out of Hitachi’s new factory in Newton Aycliffe shows we are open for business and will provide a real economic boost to the North East, not only by providing jobs but also by investing in the skills needed to provide the transport network our country needs for the future.
“These new trains will give passengers more seats, greater comfort, better reliability and faster, more frequent services.”
Northern Powerhouse Minister, Andrew Percy said:
“Our plans to build the Northern Powerhouse are right on track with 187,000 jobs created in the past year alone.
“Now the high-tech Hitachi trains produced here in the North East will create thousands more jobs along the line and help get the North firing on all cylinders.”
Managing Director of Hitachi Rail Europe, Karen Boswell 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.
“HRE is committed to the transformation of UK rail. As our new IEP 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.”
Managing Director of Virgin Trains East Coast, David Horne 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. This 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.”
Managing Director of Great Western Railway, Mark Hopwood said:
“We are delighted to be here to witness the unveiling of this first UK built train, which passengers can expect to see operating on our network next summer, and in regular timetabled service in autumn.
“The new trains will provide a step change in passenger experience across the Great Western network; and will result in more frequent and faster journeys, and an increase in the number of seats available.
“These, and a range of further passenger benefits, will enable communities and businesses across the Great Western network to prosper”
Kentaro Masai, Vice President and Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Railway Systems Business Unit, Hitachi, Ltd, said:
“It is my greatest pleasure to be here today to celebrate the completion of the first Hitachi IEP train manufactured in the UK. 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.
“We look forward to continuing our endeavors to deliver top-quality trains on schedule for our UK customers and train passengers”