Hitachi Europe Rail Group has shortlisted a number of sites in the UK as possible locations for a rolling-stock manufacturing plant.
The decision to expand its operations follows a £7.5bn Intercity Express Programme (IEP) bid, through which the Agility Trains consortium – comprising Hitachi, John Laing and Barclays Private Equity – was named as preferred bidder.
Hitachi has said that it will initially take on 200 employees at the new UK plant, with the number of staff potentially rising to 500. Possible sites include Gateshead, Ashby de la Zouch, Sheffield and Leeds. The final decision on the location of the plant is set for the end of 2009.
Sir Stephen Gomersall, chief executive of Hitachi Europe, said: ‘Our decision to build a UK manufacturing plant goes much deeper than our preferred bidder status on the IEP contract. It is, in fact, an integral part of our long-term strategy to compete for and win significant bids, not just in the UK, but throughout Europe.’