Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Combining Technology with History at New Site

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Combining Technology with History at New Site

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Keighley Reporter

THE PRIME MINISTER said he hopes Hitachi Rail's new PS82m Newton Aycliffe factory is the start of a "revival" in manufacturing in the region.

David Cameron and the Chancellor, George Osborne welcomed train manufacturing back to the North East at an opening ceremony attended by hundreds of customers, employees and the world's media.

Mr Cameron said: "This is a really big moment for the region. Train manufacturing has come back to the North East. It is great to be adding to the history of railways in the North East which extends back to George Stephenson - the father of railways.

"It's great in terms of jobs for local people and it's great for skills - the sort of highly skilled manufacturing work that our country needs as we rebuild our manufacturing base. It also means the potential for thousands of jobs in the supply chain. We want this to be the start of a great revival in terms of manufacturing in the North East."

The facility will eventually employ more than 700 people who will help to build the new InterCity Express (IEP) trains for the East Coast Mainline and Great Western Mainline, as well as AT200 commuter trains for Scotland.

More than 500 guests at the ceremony were shown the first fully fitted out IEP train, which was shipped from Japan for the event.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin, Rail Minister Claire Perry, Japanese Ambassador to the UK Keiichi Hayashi and Hitachi Ltd chairman and chief executive officer Hiroaki Nakanishi were also in attendance.

Mr Osborne said: "What a great moment, not just for this company, but for the North East of England.

"We've talked a lot in this government about rebalancing the economy and trying to create a northern powerhouse. I can tell you that jobs are being created faster in the North East than any other part of the country and wages are rising are also going up four times as fast as the UK average. The North East is a real manufacturing success story now."

Mr Cameron said the factory also represented the next stage in the UK's plans for infrastructure as Hitachi Rail Europe's largest order to date is the PS5. …

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