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Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe site connected to rail network

With a turn of the final pandrol clip work to connect the Hitachi Rail Europe facility at Newton Aycliffe to the rail network was completed this week.

The £82m factory site will deliver the Hitachi Class 800 trains for the Department for Transport’s Intercity Express Programme (IEP).

The clip was the final installation of 35,000 fixings that Story Contracting has installed on behalf of Network Rail and Hitachi.

The project has also seen the installation of 7,000m of sidings and a new 1km long overhead electrified test track, along with the reconfiguration of the existing branch line and its connection to the site.

Expected to be completed by mid-2015, work will now concentrate on the interior fit-out of the facility, which has already started.

Phil Verster, route managing director at Network Rail, said: “Today’s final fixing signals an important milestone in this exciting project. The Intercity Express Train will bring a step-change for passengers, enabling more and faster journeys. This facility is an achievement in itself and will continue to bring economic benefits to the north east as well as maintaining the region’s proud rail heritage.

“I would like to thank Merchant Place Developments, Story Contracting and the many suppliers for all the hard work they’ve put in to reach this stage. Work to finish the signalling and power will complete later this year.”

In addition to being the base for the construction of the new Great Western Main Line and East Coast Main Line trains, the facility will also produce the new AT200 trains for Abellio’s ScotRail franchise.

Rail minister Claire Perry said: “We are investing record amounts in our railways as part of our long-term economic plan. Connecting the Hitachi train facility at Newton Aycliffe to the track is a key step in roll out of the IEP, which will create hundreds of jobs locally and thousands more across the UK supply chain.

“The trains made here will transform passengers’ journeys in the south west and north, with more seats on each train, more services, reduced journey times and improved reliability.”

Earlier in March the first of the IEP trains was unloaded at the Port of Southampton after being shipped from Japan.

The first train (800-001) will now undergo testing to get the fleet ready for service on Great Western from 2017 and East Coast from 2018. All 122 trains will be in service by 2020, noted the DfT.

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