Hitachi will launch its first Intercity Express train built at its manufacturing plant in County Durham.
On December 9, Hitachi Rail Europe (HRE) will open its doors to viewing and boarding the first of the British-built new Intercity Express (IEP) trains, and see trains being built at the facility.
Hitachi will be joined by the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, Minister for Northern Powerhouse, Andrew Percy, and Ambassador of Japan in the UK, Koji Tsuruoka.
Attendees will witness first-hand the engineering skills that Hitachi is investing in, and will also meet with members of the team working on IEP, including some of the 50 apprentices employed at Newton Aycliffe.
Hitachi Rail Europe opened its £82m facility in Newton Aycliffe in September 2015 as part of its ambition to develop a hub of industry and innovation in the North East, and today, December 8 will give the opportunity to view and board the first of the British-built new Intercity Express (IEP) trains and see trains being built at the facility.
The first train leaving HRE’s UK production line marks a major milestone ahead of the introduction of IEP, the £5.7bn Government-funded programme to modernise UK intercity travel.
By the end of the programme, HRE will have supplied 122 modern intercity trains for passengers travelling on the Great Western and East Coast main lines, offering vastly improved levels of capacity, reliability and comfort.
Managing director of Hitachi Rail Europe, Karen Boswell said:
Managing Director of Virgin Trains East Coast, David Horne said:
Kentaro Masai, vice president and executive officer, chief operating officer, Railway Systems Business Unit, Hitachi, Ltd, said:
However, Mick Cash from the RMT union fears a 'halfway house' developing. He explains that most of the train is manufactured elsewhere, while he would like to see the entire train manufactured in the UK.