Hitachi Rail Europe has confirmed a $131mn agreement to develop new high-speed trains that link London with Edinburgh at its Newton Aycliffe plant, according to The Northern Echo.
Set to build five electric intercity trains of five carriages each, the agreement will be maintained by Hitachi for the next 10 years with trains anticipated to commence service in 2021.
Following the company’s announcement this morning, a spokesperson commented: “Whilst today’s small bespoke order is welcome, it does not address the pressing needs of our Newton Aycliffe factory. We are currently working around the clock to secure substantial work for Newton Aycliffe, which after spring 2020, currently has no pipeline of orders.”
The spokesperson continued: “Since their introduction on the Great Western route, we’ve seen passenger satisfaction rates increase as they receive modern and reliable trains. Soon, we will have our Azuma trains on the East Coast main line deliver the same benefits to passengers. In the coming months we will be looking to secure major new intercity train contracts for Newton Aycliffe to build. It is these major contracts which will support the long-term skilled jobs we have created in the North East.”
Karen Boswell, managing director of Hitachi Rail Europe, added: “Our Japanese-bullet train inspired fleet will play a vital role in supporting FirstGroup’s exciting new service. These trains have been designed to increase the number of seats available whilst harnessing the latest in comfort design to boost passenger experiences.
“Today’s deal extends our long-term relationship with FirstGroup, who already use our pioneering intercity trains in other parts of the country to boost reliability and passenger satisfaction.”