With the support of Welsh and UK Governments, Hitachi Rail and the Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE) will collaborate on innovation for rail passengers, delivering value for money.

This MoU covers testing of rolling stock, digital solutions and battery technology at GCRE, while Hitachi Energy had previously won a contract to improve energy security with their static frequency convertor which eliminates issues relation to traction supplies.

Jim Brewin, Head of UK & Ireland at Hitachi Rail, said: “This partnership reinforces Hitachi’s commitment to UK innovation and supply chain, which has already seen us spend over £2.6 billion in the UK since 2015.

“Through this initial agreement, we’re proud to help GCRE realise its potential and ambition to become a global hub for rail innovation. Being able to test British trains and technology at the test loop in Wales will ultimately benefit both rail passengers and the UK economy.”

GCRE’s £400m facility will be a hub for digital rail technology by testing digital signalling and infrastructure monitoring solutions.

Hitachi solutions automate track, overhead lines and vegetation monitoring, pinpoint faults and reduce costs. GCRE will support development, including the use of AI to predict areas at risk of a fault and in need of preventative maintenance.

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This will be considered the first purpose built facility for rail infrastructure testing in Europe, as well as being the largest railway test loop in the UK.

Secretary of State for Wales, Rt Hon. David TC Davies MP, said: “The UK Government welcomes the partnership between Hitachi and the GCRE.

“It shows what GCRE can do to support our rail industry and the added value of having such a capability based here in the UK – highlighting why the  government has invested £20 million in the facility and also provided £7.4m through Innovate UK for Research and Development.

“The Global Centre of Rail Excellence has the potential to create new jobs, encourage growth and spread prosperity in Wales. It’s through partnerships like this one with Hitachi which will enable that vision to become a reality.”