Hitachi bullet train
Hitachi Rail's new trains are designed using Japanese bullet train technology
Jamie Hardesty

How a ‘manufacturing renaissance in the North East’ is charging Britain’s rail revolution

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling today (16 October) hailed the start of a ‘new era’ in rail passenger services, as he travelled on the first of Britain’s new £5.7bn Intercity Express trains.

The Minister, who travelled from Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington with Great Western Railway (GWR) bosses and commuters, largely has the North East to thank for the breakthrough.

The new fleet, which is being built at Hitachi Rail Europe’s manufacturing facility at Newton Aycliffe in County Durham, is being rolled out across the Great Western and East Coast lines over the next 3 years.

The manufacturing facility at Newton Aycliffe has created more than 700 new direct jobs and more at depots across the routes, as well as supporting the UK supply chain. Moreover, more than 70% of the parts sourced for building the trains at the facility come from UK suppliers.

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Today’s launch is the beginning of a change for passengers which will deliver more than 4,000 extra seats into London Paddington in the morning peak from 2018, and more than 12,000 extra seats into London Kings Cross by the end of 2020.

The first services of the 57 new Class 800 Hitachi trains are being introduced from now into 2018 and will mark the start of the biggest fleet upgrade in a generation for GWR as the InterCity 125 fleet is replaced. Once completed in 2018, trains will then be introduced on the East Coast Mainline.

Karen Boswell, Managing Director, Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “We, at Hitachi Rail, are really proud to have built trains in the UK, designed using Japanese bullet train technology, that are improving passengers’ journeys on the Great Western route.

“Nine years of hard work has gone into making today happen, from creating a brand new factory and workforce, to establishing modern maintenance facilities from Swansea to London.”

Karen added: “We’ve delivered pioneering 21st century trains for passengers to enjoy and sparked a manufacturing renaissance in the North East.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling commented: “This government is investing record amounts to modernise Britain’s rail network and give passengers the faster, more comfortable trains and the better journeys that they expect.

“These new state-of-the-art trains show our commitment to put passengers at the heart of everything that we do and will carry people across Britain, from Swansea to Aberdeen and London to Inverness.

“Our railways are a huge success but passengers rightly expect improved services and better trains – and only last week I announced another £48 billion for the network from 2019 that will focus on better maintenance to dramatically improve reliability.

“I’m pleased to be on the very first of these brand new trains to welcome them into action.”

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