Work has commenced on Avanti West Coast’s fleet of new trains which will serve customers along the West Coast Main Line including London, the Midlands, North Wales, Liverpool and Lancashire.
New welding and painting facilities will be used to build the next generation of intercity trains for Avanti West Coast and East Midlands Railway.
Around 40 staff including newly graduated welders and painters will be completing the high-tech aluminium carriage shells, which are a signature of Hitachi’s intercity fleets.
The new fleet will comprise of 10 Class 807 seven carriage electric trains and 13 Class 805 five carriage bi-mode trains, the latter due to replace the current diesel Voyager trains in 2022 and deliver a 61% reduction in carbon emissions.
The work being undertaken at the factory is part of Hitachi Rail’s investment at Newton Aycliffe in the North East – which now totals £110million.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “It is fitting that Hitachi Rail are building the next generation of intercity trains in County Durham, a place with a proud and illustrious railway heritage.”
Phil Whittingham, Managing Director at Avanti West Coast said: “We’re proud to be partnering with Hitachi Rail, and it’s UK supply chain, to build a fleet of new trains that will transform the travelling experience for our customers on the West Coast Main Line.
“The investment is a key part of our exciting plans to raise the bar for the UK rail industry, and will deliver a significant reduction in carbon emissions.”
Jim Brewin, Head of UK & Ireland, Hitachi Rail said: “The £110 million we have now invested at Newton Aycliffe is not only a sign of our continued commitment to the North East of England but also British manufacturing and its supply chain.
“At the heart of our commitment is the continued development of a highly skilled and dynamic workforce and 70 apprenticeships will drive the rail industry forward at home and abroad for many years to come.”