Newton Aycliffe, 29th May, 2014 – Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd. today celebrated the construction of the steel frame at its Hitachi Rail Vehicle Manufacturing Facility in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. This represents a significant milestone in the £82 million factory development, which started in November 2013 and is expected to be completed by mid-2015.
The ceremony was hosted by Keith Jordan, Managing Director of Hitachi Rail Europe, Michael Chicken, CEO of Merchant Place Development, and Andrew Constantine, Regional Managing Director of Shepherd Construction. Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson, Department for Transport representatives, local councillors, including Durham County Council Leader Simon Henig, Network Rail representatives and key regional suppliers, amongst others, were in attendance.
Guest of honour Phil Wilson was invited to put their hands to the task to help construct the steel frame, with support from Keith Jordan, Michael Chicken and Andrew Constantine.
During the event, guests were given a breakdown of the work currently underway at the site and were invited to observe the progress that had so far been made in the construction process.
Earlier this month, Shepherd, lead contractors on the project, announced that it will have up to 400 workers on the site when the factory build reaches its peak, an increase on original estimates. The 43,000 square metre factory area is equivalent to more than six football pitches and over 2,000 tonnes of steel is expected to be used on the build.
Once completed, the facility will serve as Hitachi Rail’s primary European facility for train manufacturing and assembly. It will be the base for the manufacture of the new Great Western Main Line (GWML) and East Coast Main Line (ECML) trains the company is building for the Government’s Intercity Express Programme (IEP).
Keith Jordan, Managing Director of Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “Today’s celebration is a reflection of all the hard work that has been undertaken by Merchant Place Developments, Shepherd and the many suppliers on the construction process over the past six months. This factory will be the hub for Hitachi Rail Europe’s manufacturing operations in the UK and Europe and it’s important that we continue to work effectively with our contractors to ensure a state-of-the-art facility is produced.”
Geoff Hunton Merchant Place Developments of Merchant Place Development, said: “With construction at a landmark stage, we reflect that it has been 6 years since the investors put in their original monies – a long time ago – but a sign we hope that with the continued hard work of the construction and development teams this building will be identified in the future with the long term success of not just Hitachi Rail but also the region as a whole.”
Andrew Constantine, Regional Managing Director of Shepherd Construction, said: “This event celebrates the realisation of our shared vision to bring Hitachi’s state-of-the-art facility to Newton Aycliffe, as we see the erection of the steel frame of the new train factory.
“This development has provided a welcome boost to the region’s economy, harnessing expertise from across the North East and providing hundreds of local jobs throughout the supply chain.
“Thanks to the collaborative and integrated approach established on the project, progress made on site to date has been excellent. We are looking forward to the next 12 months which will see our multidisciplinary, in-house teams of engineering and construction specialists help transform this site into an exceptional world-class technical facility.”