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Hitachi train factory 'on track' to open in 2015

The construction of a train factory in County Durham, where hundreds of new train carriages will be built for Intercity and ScotRail contracts, is on target to be completed later this year.

Hundreds of train carriages will be built at the site in Newton Aycliffe

More than 700 people will work at the plant in Newton Aycliffe, where hundreds of new train carriages will be built.

Today the final part of the track will be installed, connecting the factory to the rail network for the first time.

City Council rejects bid for Hooters in Newcastle

Plans for a Hooters in Newcastle have been turned down by the city council.

The chain says its 'Hooters Girls' are a 'globally recognised icon'. Credit: Hooters US

The US chain - famous for its attractive and scantily-clad waiting staff - wanted to open a restaurant in the City Quadrant in Newcastle city centre.

It said there was a "common misconception" about the nature of its restaurants, which it said were aimed at families and were not bars.

The application said its style of operation was "no different to that of many similar operators throughout the UK" and that its waitresses "dress in a similar fashion to waitresses at other units in the city centre."

Several officers from Northumbria Police had objected to the application, saying it would attract more stag and hen parties, which they said could lead to a rise in crime.

Newcastle City Council's licensing sub-committee met this morning to consider the application.

A spokesman said: "The licensing sub-committee has today rejected Hooters’ application for a premises licence as it undermines the licensing objectives within the Licensing Act – namely crime and disorder, public nuisance and public safety."

Hooters has 21 days to appeal the decision.

The only Hooters restaurant in the UK is in Nottingham. Credit: PA

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Shambles market reopens after £1.6m renovation

Shambles Market, one of the few UK markets open seven days a week, is reopening following the completion of a £1.6 million refurbishment project.

The market has undergone an extensive redevelopment to deliver improved facilities for traders and a better shopping experience for visitors. There are seven new trading kiosks and a new layout of stalls to make access to all areas of the market easier andmore attractive.

Hitachi sign contract to build ScotRail trains

Hitachi to build new ScotRail trains at North East plant Credit: Hitachi

Hitachi have won a contract to build a fleet of trains for the upcoming ScotRail franchise Newton Aycliffe factory.

The deal also includes a 10 year maintenance contract.

The trains will start running between Edinburgh and Glasgow and Stirling and Dunblane by late 2017.

Hitachi say the AT200 model has been designed to transform the regional commuter travel experience. They will have a top speed of 100 mph and a 35-year lifespan.

Derek Mackay, Scottish Transport Minister, said: “With the new ScotRail franchise, a number of impressive infrastructure projects and these slick new trains, we are giving Scotland a railway to be proud of."

Jon Veitch, Hitachi Rail Europe’s General Manager for Scotland, said: “This is the first contract for our recently launched AT200 commuter train. With the majority of manufacturing taking place in our Newton Aycliffe factory, this is another sign of our confidence in UK manufacturing and will boost jobs and growth in Scotland and the North East of England.”

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Schoolchildren visit Hitachi train plant

Hitachi plant under construction Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Shepherd, the company building Hitachi's new train-making factory in County Durham is showing schoolchildren around on Friday.

The site, at Newton Aycliffe, is still under construction, and today's event is designed to inspire youngsters to consider a career in construction.

Tonight's Around The House

Around The House, tonight at 10.40pm on ITV. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Our political correspondent Paul Brand is joined by four new election candidates for a lively debate on immigration and the economy.

Paul Brand and guests (l to r): Lib Dem Julie Pörksen (on screen), Tory Will Goodhand, Lee Sherriff (Labour) and Phillip Broughton (UKIP) Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Around The House is on ITV tonight (Thursday 5 March) at 10.40pm.

Richard Branson: commuters should not be worried about rising rail fares

Sir Richard Branson says rail commuters in the region should not be concerned about rising prices on the East Coast mainline.

Speaking on a visit to Newcastle this lunchtime he told ITV Tyne Tees that concerns about lack of competition and increases in fares were unfounded.

Virgin Rail and Stagecoach took over the running of the East Coast Franchise this week. They already run services on the West Coast line. There have been concerns from the Competition and Marketing Authority about lack of competition in some areas driving prices up.

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