Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin today confirmed a £1.2bn order for trains that will operate on the East Coast Main Line.
The 30 nine-car electric trains will be manufactured in Britain by Hitachi Rail Europe at its new factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, as part of the government’s £5.8bn Intercity Express Programme (IEP).
Today’s confirmation to use Class 800 series trains instead of Intercity 225s follows last year’s announcement to replace the ageing fleet of Intercity 125 trains on the Great Western Main Line with the Hitachi Super Express Trains.
The department for transport claims benefits to passengers will include an 18 per cent boost in capacity and a cut in journey times between London, Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh of up to 18 minutes.
Hitachi has recently completed a deal to build its Newton Aycliffe factory with Merchant Place Developments and has said that it will be operational from 2015 with full production starting in 2016. The first batch of class 800 series trains will enter service on the Great Western Main Line in 2017 and on the East Coast Main Line in 2018.
In a statement Alistair Dormer, executive chairman and chief executive officer, Hitachi Rail Europe, said, ‘Last year the Department for Transport agreed an initial order for 596 carriages with Agility Trains, a consortium of Hitachi and John Laing.
‘As well as building the new…manufacturing facility, Hitachi is also planning to construct maintenance depots in Bristol, Swansea, west London and Doncaster, and will upgrade existing maintenance depots throughout Britain to service the class 800 series trains.’
According to Hitachi today’s deal will reinforce UK train manufacturing capability, making it globally competitive and raising the prospect of the UK being able to compete for export orders in European markets.