According to Hitachi, the plant represents an £82m investment in manufacturing that is expected to reinforce Britain’s train manufacturing capability and restore the nation’s ability to compete for European export orders.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has invested £4m under the Grant for Business Investment scheme. Up to 150 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the facility, which will see a further 730 people directly employed by Hitachi Rail Europe when in full production.
The first contract to be fulfilled at the plant will be the fleet of 122 Class 800 series trains for the East Coast Main Line and the Great Western Main Line as part of the Intercity Express Programme.
Agility Trains, of which Hitachi Rail Europe is the main shareholder, last year won the contract for the Intercity Express Programme and Hitachi will design, manufacture and deliver the trains into daily passenger service.
Hitachi Rail Europe is working with developer Merchant Place Developments (MPD), who are leading the project to build and fit out the factory. Hitachi and MPD decided jointly to appoint Darlington-based Shepherd to build the plant.