Hitachi Rail Europe will build new 140mph class 800 trains to speed up travel between London, Yorkshire and North East while Bombardier selected to supply electric trains for Southern railway.
According to the £1.2bn contract awarded today by the UK government, 270 carriages are going to be built in Hitachi’s state-of-the art factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
"By signing this deal we have provided further proof of our determination to transform Britain's railways into a world-class operation through continued investment and state-of-the-art technology,” said Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
"This new order for class 800 series trains is part of the Government's commitment to invest in our nation's infrastructure. This will not only deliver significant benefits to passengers by further slashing journey times and bolstering capacity, but will also stimulate economic growth through improved connectivity between some of Britain's biggest cities.”
The purpose-built facility in Aycliffe, where the manufacturing will be carried out, is a part of the government’s overall £5.8bn Intercity Express Programme (IEP). The site is said to be fully operational by 2016. According to the contract, the latest order for trains to serve the East Coast Main Line is expected to be delivered by 2019.
Last year the Department for Transport agreed an initial order for 596 carriages with Agility Trains, a consortium of Hitachi and John Laing.
Apart from the Aycliffe facility, Hitachi has also committed to constructing maintenance depots in Bristol, Swansea, west London and Doncaster, and will upgrade existing maintenance depots throughout Britain to service the class 800 series trains.
The first batch of class 800 series trains will enter revenue-earning service on the Great Western Main Line in 2017 and on the East Coast Main Line in 2018.
"This follow-on order by the Department for Transport is great news for passengers on the East Coast Main Line who can look forward to quicker journeys travelling on high-quality trains, with more seats and passenger space, built to the latest safety standards,” Hitachi Rail Europe's executive chairman and chief executive Alistair Dormer said.
Another company selected today to boost future railway services in the UK is Bombardier. Despite recently losing to Siemens over the Thameslink contract, the British company has now been awarded a £180m deal to supply 116 electric trains for the Southern train company.
"Increasing the number of trains on the network not only benefits passengers but everyone, as the railways are an important engine for economic growth in our country,” Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said.
When the contract is placed, the new trains will be used initially on the north-south, cross-London Thameslink Route, facilitating the release of existing trains to newly electrified routes.
Once the new Thameslink trains are delivered the new Bombardier vehicles will also be used on services on newly electrified routes. The Bombardier trains are expected to be delivered to Southern in 2015.