July 25th 2012
The Government has approved a £4.5 billion contract to build almost 600 railway carriages at a new factory in the north east of England.
In an announcement this morning, Transport Secretary Justine Greening said the project would create more than 900 jobs and secure thousands more.
Agility Trains, a consortium made up of Hitachi and John Laing, has been awarded the contract to build and maintain the trains under the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) – the project to replace the Intercity 125 trains, which were first introduced to Britain’s rail network in the 1970s.
Hitachi, which was first announced as the preferred bidder for the project in February 2009, will assemble an intercity fleet of 92 complete trains at a new purpose-built factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, with the first IEP trains expected to enter service on the Great Western Main Line in 2017 and on the East Coast Main Line by 2018.
The company will also locate its European rail research and development capabilities to the site, and construct new maintenance depots in Bristol, Swansea, west London and Doncaster.
Construction at the Newton Aycliffe site is expected to begin in 2013 and will be fully operational by 2015.
Transport Secretary Justine Greening said: “A new train factory is fantastic news for Britain and will be welcomed by everyone who wants to see a thriving UK manufacturing sector. It means 730 new skilled jobs created at the factory, 200 jobs in constructing the plant and thousands of jobs secured in the supply chain.
“The decision to build almost 600 new intercity train carriages is great for rail passengers who will experience faster and more comfortable journeys when travelling across Britain on the East Coast and Great Western main lines.
“Hitachi is the latest major international company to invest on this scale in Britain and I look forward to this new factory in County Durham following in the footsteps of Nissan’s successful car plant in Sunderland.”
The IEP train fleet will be comprised of electric and bi-mode trains, some five vehicles long and others nine vehicles. These will be faster accelerating than existing stock, and will offer the potential for more frequent services at a higher capacity.
Together with further electrification on the Great Western Main Line between London Paddington and Swansea, the new trains could cut 15 minutes off journeys between the two stations and 21 minutes off services between Bristol and the capital.
Read more at Rail.co