Hitachi Rail is celebrating five years of its plant at Newton Aycliffe, which has been the scene of some truly pioneering work in the industry including the building of the Azuma bullet trains. It was also awarded a £400m contract last year to build 165 carriages for the East Midlands Railway and has submitted a joint bid to build and maintain high speed trains for the proposed HS2 line.
The site’s importance to the economy of County Durham is evidenced by its use of local suppliers, with 70% of the parts fitted for the Azumas coming from within a 40 mile radius.
Durham County Council was instrumental in bringing Hitachi to the county, being heavily involved in a bid which saw Newton Aycliffe chosen from 40 sites, and has supported the factory and its 850 jobs ever since.
And on the occasion of the five year anniversary, the authority has spoken of the continued importance of the Hitachi site to the county’s economy, particularly as it looks to get it back on track amid the impacts of the pandemic.
Cllr. Carl Marshall, the council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “On behalf of everyone associated with the council I would like to send our best wishes to everyone at Hitachi Rail on the fifth anniversary of the Newton Aycliffe site. As I’ve said before it was a real coup for us to get Hitachi to County Durham with our great location, flexible and skilled workforce and determination to deliver, all key to us doing so. The site and its jobs – in addition to its use of local suppliers – have been crucial to our economy, while also helping us to attract other big employers like Amazon and Atom Bank to invest here.
“Having companies like these operating here is more crucial than ever at the moment as we do everything in our power to get the county’s economy get back on track following the impacts of the coronavirus. We would also call for a prompt and hopefully positive outcome to Hitachi’s bid to build the HS2 trains. Giving this contract to the company would not only be a major boost to Hitachi and the County Durham economy, but would also go some way to meeting the government’s pledge to level up investment across the regions and reduce inequality.”