HIGH speed trains will be built in County Durham, creating 900 new jobs.
A much-delayed £4.5 billion deal for new intercity express trains was finally announced by the Government. Under the deal, Agility Trains, a consortium led by Hitachi of Japan, will build 596 rail carriages at a new factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
The first trains will enter service on the Greater Western Main Line in 2017 and on the East Coast Main Line by 2018.
Agility was announced as preferred bidder for the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) in early 2009, but after a series of delays it has taken more than three years for the deal to be finalised.
The project, to replace the Intercity 125 trains, will not only create new jobs but safeguard thousands more.A total of 730 skilled jobs will be created at Newton Aycliffe with a further 200 created during construction of the factory itself, where Hitachi will assemble a fleet of 92 complete trains.
The company will also locate its European rail research and development capabilities on the site which will enhance the factory’s ability to win rail contracts across Europe.
Transport Secretary Justine Greening said: "A new train factory is fantastic news for Britain and will be welcomed by everyone who wants to see a thriving UK manufacturing sector.
"Hitachi is the latest major international company to invest on this scale in Britain and I look forward to this new factory in County Durham following in the footsteps of Nissan’s successful car plant in Sunderland.
"There can also be fewer stronger signs that the UK is the best place in which to invest, and from which to develop new markets, than Hitachi’s decision to base its European manufacturing base right here in Britain.
"The new trains will reduce journey times between Newcastle and London on the East Coast mainline by 13 minutes. Construction at the Newton Aycliffe site is expected to begin in 2013 and it will be fully operational by 2015.