Mayor Ben Houchen has today (9 December) welcomed the news that the Government has awarded the contract to build the next generation of the country’s high-speed “bullet trains” to Hitachi/Alstom JV.
The new state-of-the-art trains, capable of speeds of up to 225mph, will be designed and built in the UK, at sites including at Hitachi’s site in Newton Aycliffe.
The contracts, worth £2billion, will create and support 2,500 jobs across the UK including apprentices and roles for young people, with many local people and supply chain businesses set to benefit from the news.
Each train will be around 200m long, with the option to couple units together for a 400m long train with up to 1,100 seats. The first vehicle is expected to roll off the production line around 2027, with the first passengers to be carried between 2029 and 2033.
The fully electric trains will serve HS2 destinations as well as those on the existing network such as Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham and more set to benefit from Government’s recently announced Integrated Rail Plan, cutting journey times across the UK.
Mayor Houchen said: “I’ve been urging Government for months to bring construction of these state-of-the-art trains to our region and I’m delighted that Hitachi, which operating right on our doorstep, has been awarded this contract. This will allow the company to continue its world-renowned work for years to come.
“A huge number of Hitachi’s workforce already live in Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool and this announcement will mean more highly skilled jobs coming to the region, as well as the chance to create apprenticeships and further opportunities for young people, showing that they can stay local but go far.
“Hitachi has a history of working side-by-side with our brilliant businesses in the supply chain, helping them to grow and create good-quality well paid jobs, and this contract will give the whole region a great boost.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Today’s announcement places Britain firmly at the forefront of the high-speed rail revolution with a billion pound investment in state-of-the-art trains serving communities right across the country from London to Glasgow.
“Not only does this show we are getting on with delivering better and faster journeys through our plans to upgrade the rail network, this is another landmark step in the delivery of HS2, sustaining 2,500 jobs and levelling up employment and leisure opportunities for generations to come.”