Hitachi Rail has commenced the construction of five electric East Coast Trains at its Newton Aycliffe factory in the UK.

The new intercity trains are being constructed for open access operator East Coast Trains and include an extensive manufacturing programme.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Hitachi Rail has continued to work in a safe manner to prepare the factory and complete the train order.

The five fully electric trains will be known as Class 803s and are expected to begin operation from late next year on the Edinburgh – London route.

These trains are expected to provide a high-quality, cost-effective and sustainable mode of transport compared with flights between the cities.

Hitachi Rail will build more intercity orders this year, which will be benefitted with the £8.5m investment for the factory.

Hitachi Rail Rolling Stock UK COO Ross Nagle said: “Building these East Coast Trains signifies a new and exciting chapter for Hitachi Rail’s UK factory.

“It is an important step as we increase our manufacturing capabilities and upskill our workforce at Newton Aycliffe, which includes an £8.5m investment in new welding and painting facilities.

“The increased skills of our workforce makes us well-placed to deliver a number of highly significant orders over the next 12 months, and consolidate our place as a strategic North East manufacturing hub.”

In July 2018, the UK Government planned to invest up to £780m into overhaul works on the East Coast Main Line from last year.