A major investment by train builder Hitachi in its County Durham plant has been welcomed by council leaders.
Hitachi Rail’s announcement of further investment in its state-of-art factory in Newton Aycliffe will not only see the creation of additional jobs, but it will also benefit the wider business community.
The move will see the launch of new welding and painting facilities at the site, allowing the company to manufacture its signature high-tech aluminium carriage shells on-site rather than importing them from overseas.
It means the facility, which has the contract to build the next generation of intercity trains for East Midlands Railway and Avanti West Coast, will be able to manufacture trains in their entirety.
The latest news means that the company has now invested a total of £110 million into the site, meaning the addition of around 40 additional roles.
Hitachi Rail’s continued commitment to its employees, including extensive training programmes and further training to obtain specialist welding qualifications, is also being welcomed.
The Newton Aycliffe site’s new manufacturing capabilities will allow Hitachi Rail to further expand its north east supply chain, deepening its relationship with supplies such as Dyer Engineering and Hydram Engineering.
Cllr Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council, said: “The news that Hitachi is making another substantial investment in Newton Aycliffe demonstrates its commitment to County Durham, its workforce, and the future of its site here.
“The latest announcement, which signals a total £110 million investment in the county by the company, is a significant milestone for the business and for the county. It’s a great boost for our local economy at a time when our focus is very much on economic recovery from the impact of the pandemic.
“As well as providing employment for hundreds of local people, the plant supports many more through the 130 businesses that make up its local supply chain.”
Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We worked hard to attract Hitachi to County Durham against fierce competition from around the country. Happily, Hitachi able was to see the vision we had and the fantastic opportunities we are able to offer businesses looking to relocate to the region.
“We have a long and proud tradition of manufacturing and as pioneers of the railway industry, having brand new intercity trains made in County Durham is a fitting reference to the past. It also illustrates that we embrace the opportunity to innovate and as a county, we have so much to offer.”
Amy Harhoff, Durham County Council’s corporate director of regeneration, economy and growth, said: “Hitachi chose to come to County Durham because we were able to offer a well-connected location and a skilled and highly motivated workforce who are willing to learn, develop and work hard.
“Since their move here, we have supported the business in achieving its ambitions.
“We are rightly proud that Hitachi continues to give our county a vote of confidence with this latest investment in its state-of-the-art facility. It shows that we can attract global businesses, that we have much to offer them, and, most importantly of all, that we can work with them to support their ambitions to grow and succeed.”
Ross Nagle, COO Rolling Stock UK, said: “This investment in Newton Aycliffe increases our capabilities at the site, meaning we can manufacture a range of trains, from metros to high speed, from start to finish. The whole team has worked incredibly hard over the last year in challenging circumstances to deliver for our customers and this investment is a testament to them.”