A new £82m rail manufacturing facility has been opened by Hitachi in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
The factory, expected to employ around 700 people, will be used to produce new class 800 InterCity Express (IEP) trains for the East Coast Main Line and Great Western Main Line as well as AT200 commuter trains for Scotland.
Hitachi chose to base the new factory in the UK after the government awarded it a £5.7bn intercity express contract as well as a 27 year maintenance deal.
Hailing the firm’s huge investment in the UK Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This new train facility will not only provide good jobs for working people but will build the next generation of intercity trains, improving travel for commuters and families, as well as strengthening the infrastructure we need to help the UK grow.”
Chairman and CEO of Hitachi Ltd, Hiroaki Nakanishi, added: “In our world-class facility we will combine the best of Japanese technology with the best of British manufacturing to make the best trains for Britain and the world.”
The new facility is close to the Bishop Auckland to Darlington railway branch line where George Stephenson’s Locomotion No 1 became the first steam locomotive to carry passengers on a public railway line.