Hitachi Rail Europe has signed a contract with Merchant Place Developments to build and fit-out a rolling stock manufacturing and assembly plant in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, UK.
The new factory, to be built with an investment of £82m, will be the company’s first European train factory.
In order to support the project, the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills has provided a £4m grant to Hitachi.
Hitachi Rail Europe executive chairman and chief executive officer Alistair Dormer said: "By investing substantially in our train factory, we are creating employment opportunities for a large number of engineers and technicians in the north-east of England, which has a strong tradition of engineering skills." Merchant Place Developments is currently looking for contractors to help in the construction of the new plant after signing the contract with Hitachi.
An archaeological survey is currently being carried out on the site, which will take about three to four months to complete.
Construction of the plant is scheduled to commence at the end of 2013, while production is expected to begin in 2016 with a capacity of 35 vehicles a month.
Once fully operational, the plant will initially be used to build Super Express Trains for the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line.
The decision to build the new Newton Aycliffe rolling stock manufacturing plant follows a contract secured by a consortium comprising Hitachi Rail Europe in July 2012 to replace the ageing fleet of diesel-powered Intercity trains.
The contract to build 596 railway carriages is part of the UK Intercity Express Programme (IEP).
The first Super Express Trains are scheduled to enter service on the Great Western Main Line in 2017 and on the East Coast Main Line by 2018.
The new rolling stock, which will include both electric and bi-mode trains, will be equipped with one powerpack each for auxiliary power, which will allow them to operate under their own power in the absence of overhead electricity.
In September 2012, Hitachi had awarded a €200m contract to Tognum subsidiary MTU to supply 250,700kW diesel powerpacks for the future Super Express trains. Hitachi has also selected Nomad Digital in May 2013 to provide on-board servers (OBS) for a fleet of 92 future high-speed trains.
Image: Once operational in 2016, the new rolling stock manufacturing plant will initially produce Super Express Trains for the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line. Photo courtesy of Merchant Place Developments.