Transport Secretary Justine Greening has approved a £4.5bn train supply contract with Agility Trains, a consortium made up of Hitachi and John Laing. Agility will build and maintain the trains under the Intercity Express Programme (IEP), the project to replace Britain's Intercity 125 trains with new higher capacity bi-mode trains.
Hitachi will build the new factory in Durham to produce 92 complete trains comprising 596 carriages. The company will also relocate its European rail research and development capabilities to the site to enhance the factory's ability to win additional rail contracts from across Europe.
Hitachi will also construct maintenance depots in Bristol, Swansea, west London and Doncaster, and it will upgrade existing maintenance depots throughout Britain.
Miss Greening said: "A new train factory is fantastic news for Britain and will be welcomed by everyone who wants to see a thriving UK manufacturing sector. It means 730 new skilled jobs created at the factory, 200 jobs in constructing the plant and thousands of jobs secured in the supply chain.”
Construction at the Newton Aycliffe site is expected to begin in 2013 and will be fully operational by 2015. The first IEP trains will enter revenue-earning service on the Great Western Main Line in 2017 and on the East Coast Main Line by 2018.