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Hitachi Rail Europe Manufacturing Plant –Start of Construction Phase Ceremony with Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP and Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP

Press Release   •   Nov 01, 2013 07:00 GMT

Hitachi Rail Europe and developer Merchant Place Developments choose Darlington office of national contractor, Shepherd, to build the train factory

London, November 1, 2013 – Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd will today announce the appointment of the construction contractor to build their new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in the North East of England. Darlington-based lead contractor Shepherd has been appointed to build the plant with work set to start later this year.

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable and Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin are today on site in Newton Aycliffe to celebrate the appointment of the contractor for the building of a new train factory, which signals the return of train manufacturing to the North East.

The plant represents an £82 million investment in manufacturing which will reinforce Britain’s train manufacturing capability, raising the prospect of the UK once again competing for export orders in European markets. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has invested £4 million under the Grant for Business Investment scheme. 150 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the facility and when the factory is in full production, 730 people will be directly employed by Hitachi Rail Europe.

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. Jointly Hitachi and MPD have appointed the Darlington-based team for national contractor, Shepherd, to build the plant.

Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable, said:
"Hitachi's decision to base its European factory in Newton Aycliffe shows the UK is an attractive place for international businesses to invest and grow. The factory will be a great boost to the North East economy, creating over 700 jobs and bringing a long tradition of rail manufacturing back to the region.

"With increasing numbers of passengers set to use our railways over the coming years, we also need to train and encourage more young people to enter the industry. The Government has invested in a new rail training academy in Northampton which will address skills shortages in traction and rolling stock. We are also creating a new Rail Supply Chain Forum to help British companies to win work both here and abroad."

Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, said: “The Intercity Express Programme is part of the government’s commitment to investing in our nation’s infrastructure. Once they are on the network they will slash journey times, boost capacity to many of our cities in the South West and up the East Coast to Scotland.

“Building theses new trains is supporting jobs and manufacturing across the UK. Like our plans for a national high speed rail network, these new faster trains will help stimulate economic growth by improving connections between our major cities.”

Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hitachi Rail Europe, Alistair Dormer, said: “We want to establish Hitachi Rail Europe as a key British manufacturer of trains and this new factory is a huge step towards doing that. In just 18 months, what stands today as an empty field will become home to a state-of the-art facility, manufacturing trains for Europe and the UK.

“This investment will secure employment for more than 150 workers during the build phase and many more from the supply chain. The majority of recruits will be from County Durham and the North East. In our own office here in Newton Aycliffe, we have already employed seven local people and recruitment will continue to grow right through to when the factory goes live.

“I would like to congratulate Shepherd which has won the tender to build the plant against strong competition. We look forward to working with them and Merchant Place Developments on this exciting project.”

Geoff Hunton, Construction Manager, Merchant Place Developments, said: “‘The appointment of Shepherd is a further step closer towards the start of this major project.’’

Mark Perkins, Chief Executive for Shepherd Group Built Environment, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the contract to build this landmark development in the North East, which will have a momentous effect on the prosperity of the region, as the biggest investment into the area for more than 20 years.

“Shepherd invested a vast amount of time and research carefully gathering insight into Hitachi’s specific requirements before proposing exactly how we would deliver such a large and complex scheme, which meant gaining a comprehensive understanding of what the facility has to achieve and, of course, Hitachi’s exceptional standards in building trains. Our integrated supply chain incorporating Shepherd Construction, as well as Shepherd Engineering Services (SES), means we can offer an end-to-end approach based on a responsive and adaptive technical authority which I am confident will serve to enable Hitachi’s ambitious business plan on this development. We are very much looking forward to starting work later this year.”

About Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd.

Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Europe, Ltd. and is headquartered in London, UK.

Hitachi Rail Europe is a total railway system supplier offering rolling stock, traction equipment, signalling, traffic management systems, and maintenance depots.

Hitachi draws on many years of experience as a leading supplier of high-speed trains such as the Shinkansen (bullet train) for the Japanese and international markets. In Europe, Hitachi Rail Europe’s first rolling stock contract was to deliver a fleet of 29 Class 395 trains, the first domestic high-speed train in the UK, which are maintained at Hitachi’s state of the art depot in Ashford, Kent. As part of the British Department for Transport’s Intercity Express Programme, Hitachi Rail Europe will replace the UK’s ageing fleet of Intercity trains, and will establish a new rolling stock manufacturing facility in the UK for this purpose. The trains will be maintained and services in a number of new maintenance
depots along the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line.

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