News story

Welsh Secretary: “Rail improvements will create a strong and modern UK rail network"

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Secretary of State for Wales David Jones has praised today’s [28 January] High Speed 2 announcement.

Secretary of State for Wales David Jones has praised today’s [28 January] High Speed 2 announcement, confirming that the high speed rail network will be coming to the North East.

Following a meeting of the Cabinet in Leeds this morning, Mr Jones has visited the Xcel Centre in County Durham to learn what the new Amazon Park Hitachi site will mean for the future of rail.

Mr Jones met representatives of Hitachi Rail Europe, who are leading the development of the new generation railway carriages which will eventually travel on the planned electrified railway line to Swansea. Hitachi will be building 596 new rail vehicles, making 92 5-car and 9-car trains, as part of the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) and they plan to locate their new European manufacturing facility at Amazon Park in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. A Servicing Depot will also be constructed at the Swansea Maliphant site, a short distance from Swansea Station, with construction work beginning in 2015. Mr Jones also met Business Durham, Durham County Council and Merchant Place Developments.

Welsh Secretary David Jones said:

Today’s announcement has further demonstrated this government’s commitment to building a strong and modern rail network across the UK, something that is crucial in order for the UK to compete in today’s global race.

I am particularly pleased that Crewe will be served by a dedicated link alongside the high speed line, creating a valuable link for passengers to and from North Wales.

Durham County Council have shown how their work in encouraging big companies, such as Hitachi, to locate to the area will pay dividends in the future. It is a lesson for other local authorities and I know from my strong relationship with Hitachi that they see themselves as more than inward investors, rather as an integral part of the local community.

The building of the Servicing Depot in Swansea in 2015 will create much needed jobs and attract business opportunities to South Wales, and I look forward to seeing the project develop.

Keith Jordan, Managing Director of Hitachi Rail Europe said:

With the close of contract for the Intercity Express Programme achieved in 2012, the year 2013 will see start of work in many areas crucial for the delivery of the project: the interior of the Super Express Trains is currently being designed by UK company DCA Design, Hitachi Rail Europe has taken possession of the North Pole depot and 250 loads of spoil are currently being removed from the Stoke Gifford site on a daily basis to enable us to take possession there. Work is soon to begin in Newton Aycliffe, which will be most crucial in delivering outstanding trains for UK passengers.

Cllr Neil Foster, Durham County Council Cabinet member for economic regeneration said:

Hitachi Rail Europe’s proposed new site in Newton Aycliffe will play a major part in the future of County Durham. As well as creating hundreds of jobs and boosting the local economy, the site will also see the building, research and engineering of trains return to the region that was so instrumental in their origins.

Notes to editors

  • Secretary of State for Wales David Jones has held a number of senior level engagements with representatives from Hitachi, building important links in relation to their nuclear and rail investments in the UK.

  • The Transport Secretary approved a £4.5bn contract to deliver the next generation of intercity trains into daily service in July last. Attracting the Hitachi facility to Durham is of major economic importance to the North East.

  • Agility Trains, a consortium made up of Hitachi and John Laing, has been awarded the contract to build and maintain the trains under the Intercity Express Programme (IEP), the project to replace Britain’s Intercity 125 trains with new higher capacity modern trains.

  • Hitachi will assemble an intercity fleet of 92 complete trains (596 railway carriages) at a brand new train factory in Newton Aycliffe, developed by Merchant Place Developments.

  • 730 skilled jobs will be created with a further 200 jobs during construction of the factory itself and securing thousands more in the UK supply chain.

  • The company will also locate its European rail research and development capabilities on the site which will further enhance the factory’s ability to win rail contracts across Europe.

  • As well as building the new state-of-the-art assembly facility, Hitachi will construct maintenance depots in Bristol, Swansea, west London and Doncaster, and will upgrade existing maintenance depots throughout Britain.

  • The IEP train fleet will be comprised of electric and bi-mode trains, some five vehicles long and others nine vehicles. These will provide more seats per train in addition to being faster accelerating than existing stock, and will offer the potential for more frequent services.

  • Construction at the Newton Aycliffe site is expected to begin in 2013 and will be fully operational by 2015. The first IEP trains will enter revenue-earning service on the Great Western Main Line in 2017 and on the East Coast Main Line by 2018.

For further information on the project please visit