Hitachi has announced that Newton Aycliffe in County Durham is the preferred site for its planned European rolling stock manufacturing and assembly centre.
The investment will generate at least 500 new jobs, and major opportunities for the UK and European supply chain.
The announcement came after the Department for Transport decided to proceed with the Intercity Express Programme with Agility Trains, of which Hitachi is part. The commercial agreements for the project are yet to be finalised.
Under the IEP, Agility Trains will deliver train services to Train Operating Companies at a fixed price for approximately 30 years using the IEP family of trains.
Since the preferred bidder announcement on 12 February 2009, Agility Trains has worked to improve value for money in response to the UK’s public financial position and has passed on 100% of all value for money benefits to the UK Government.
The consortium welcomed the decision, and announced it looks forward to completing this innovative, competitive and complex procurement to provide new Intercity trains on a fully maintained and serviced basis to both the Great Western and East Coast Mainline routes.
The Intercity Express Programme includes delivery and maintenance of a family of new Super Express trains which will constitute a change in capacity, improved reliability and reduced environmental impact on every train journey.
All this will improve passenger experience and save costs on the long term operation and maintenance of intercity train services across the UK. The Trains will be funded, owned and maintained by Agility Trains and will be provided to Train Operators (TOCs) on a pay-as-you-go basis contingent on fully serviceable, clean, reliable train services being delivered.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said he expects the first of the new trains to be in service by 2016. He commented: “Our decision to buy a new fleet of trains and electrify new lines will allow rail passengers along the Great Western and East Coast corridors to benefit from massive improvements to journey times, more seats and more reliable services.
“Alongside our plans for High Speed Rail, it completes a picture of massive upgrades to our intercity rail corridors over the coming years.”