Hitachi-led group wins ¥540 billion British railroad deal

JIJI

A consortium led by Hitachi Ltd. has won a £4.5 billion (about ¥540 billion) order to supply Britain with next-generation intercity trains, the British Department for Transport said Wednesday.

Hitachi will build a plant to manufacture and assemble the rolling stock in Newton Aycliffe, northeast England. The plant is expected to produce 596 rail cars.

The company will also set up a research and development base there in preparation for the future launch of a rail business across Europe.

Hitachi will build maintenance depots in Bristol, west London and two other locations, and upgrade a number of depots in other parts of the nation. Construction of the Newton Aycliffe plant is likely to start in 2013. It is expected to reach full operations in 2015.

Trains made there will enter service starting in 2017 on the East Coast Main Line and Great Western Main Line. The plant is expected to create more than 900 jobs.

“I look forward to this new factory in County Durham following in the footsteps of Nissan’s successful car plant in Sunderland,” Transport Secretary Justine Greening said in a statement.

Nissan Motor Co. makes the Qashqai crossover and other vehicles in Sunderland.