Hitachi’s new state-of-the-art train building facility opens today in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. The 5.7 billion pound Intercity Express Programme will build trains for the East Coast and Great Western main line and AT200 commuter trains for Scotland. The £82 million factory will employ 700 people.
Hitachi Ltd Chairman and CEO, Hiroaki Nakanishi, welcomed the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin MP and Rail Minister Claire Perry MP, along with over 500 invited guests, to the opening ceremony and for guided tours of the state-of-the-art rail vehicle manufacturing facility.
Welcoming the opening, Prime Minister David Cameron said:
This massive investment from Hitachi shows confidence in the strength of Britain’s growing economy. This new train facility will not only provide good jobs for working people but will build the next generation of intercity trains, improving travel for commuters and families, as well as strengthening the infrastructure we need to help the UK grow.
The day began with the ceremonial sealing of a time capsule by Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin MP and Mr Higashihara, President and COO of Hitachi Ltd.
The time capsule included a small model of Hitachi’s Class 800/801 IEP train, digital photos of trains painted by local school children, a map of Newton Aycliffe, profile of site architect Masayuki Ninomiya and a mobile phone with photos and videos.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP said:
The state-of-the-art IEP trains that will be manufactured here will transform rail travel for countless passengers between London, the north east and south west. Not only will these trains allow us to operate more services, with more seats, and faster journeys, the improvements will also bring great opportunities for growth, generating hundreds of jobs in the local area and thousands across the country within the supply chain.
We are investing record amounts in transport, not just to help people get around, but to help people get on. The opening of this world-class Hitachi facility is a prime example of the strength and opportunities of the Northern Powerhouse and is a welcome addition to the historical culture of rail excellence in this region.
Hitachi has unveiled the designs for interiors of trains it is hoping to build at its Newton Aycliffe site.Read the full story ›
A woman escaped from her burning home after a neighbour told her the property was on fire.
The house on Bates Close, Newton Aycliffe, went up in flames at around 3pm on April 13.
It took three fire engines and more than a dozen firefighters to put out the blaze.
A taxi driver is in hospital in a serious but stable condition after a crash in County Durham.
A black Mercedes E350 collided with a red Skoda Octavia taxi on the A167, Central Avenue, Newton Aycliffe, on March 27th.
The taxi driver, 36, from Darlington, was airlifted to the James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.
His two passengers, a man aged 50, and woman aged 45, were treated at the same hospital for minor injuries.
The driver of the Mercedes was uninjured.
Two men are seriously injured after a crash involving a car and a taxi on the A167 in Newton Aycliffe.
County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service said the two men, who were travelling in the same vehicle, both had to be cut from the wreckage by firefighters.
One has been airlifted to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough, while the other has been taken by road to Darlington Memorial Hospital.
Nothing is known yet about the driver of the other car.
The road is closed both ways, with police directing traffic, between the B6443 at Central Avenue and Ricknall Lane. The crash happened about 500 yards north of the Gretna Green Hotel.
A spokesman for the fire service confirmed the crash involved two cars, after reports that one of the vehicles was a lorry. He said a lorry was at the scene but was not involved in the crash.
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.
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.
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The family of a man who died when his car left the road and crashed in Bishop Auckland have paid tribute to him.
Shane Smith, 25, died when his blue Audi car crashed through a fence on Close House, Bishop Auckland, on January 10.
He suffered serious injuries and died at the scene.
Yesterday, his family paid tribute to Shane, from Newton Aycliffe.
"We are all devastated by the loss of our Shane. He was a gentle giant with a heart of gold.
"As a family our lives will never be the same as we will always have this awful emptiness. He should be here, cracking jokes as he always did. If there are any witnesses to this accident please contact the police. We need to know why it occurred and why our beautiful, happy, smiling Shane has been taken too young. RIP Shane, we love you to pieces and words cannot describe how much we will miss you."
The Countess of Wessex has visited the North East to open a new centre for Autism in County Durham.Read the full story ›
Costing £82m and the size of 20 football pitches, Hitachi's new plant will one day employ 700 people. We were given the first look inside.Read the full story ›