Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

One Down, 121 to Go as Express Service Gets under Way in Durham

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

One Down, 121 to Go as Express Service Gets under Way in Durham

Article excerpt

Byline: Coreena Ford Business writer coreena.ford@ncjmedia.co.uk @Scoopford

THE first UK-built Intercity Express train has been officially unveiled at a showcase event at Hitachi Rail Europe's North East factory.

The inaugural train leaving Hitachi Rail Europe's UK production line in County Durham marks a major milestone ahead of the introduction of the Intercity Express (IEP), the PS5.7bn 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, designed to boost capacity, reliability and comfort for passengers.

They are due to begin operating on the Great Western main line from next summer and the East Coast main line from 2018 and all the trains are set to be in service by 2020.

Hitachi opened the PS82m 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 by next spring it is estimated it will have a workforce of around 900 people.

The first Class 800 train was built at Hitachi's Kasado works in Japan, but the majority of the 866-carriage fleet will be manufactured in the UK.

A total of 110 IEP trains will be built in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

They are capable of running at 140mph, although will be limited to 125mph unless rail tracks are upgraded.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "We are determined to take the big decisions for Britain and are investing record amounts to mod-ernise the rail network, deliver better journeys for passengers and drive economic growth.

"This first train to roll out of Hitachi's new factory in Newton Aycliffe shows we are open for business and will provide a real economic boost to the North East, not only by providing jobs but also by investing in the skills needed to provide the transport network our country needs for the future. …

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