Prime Minister David Cameron has officially opened Hitachi's new £82m rail manufacturing facility in County Durham.
The plant in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, will directly employ more than 700 people making trains for the East Coast Main Line, the Great Western Main Line and commuter trains in Scotland.
Chancellor George Osborne also attended the ceremony at which Cameron celebrated the return of rail manufacturing to its origins in the North East of England in front of some 500 invited guests yesterday.
He said: "In the past few years we have seen the North East on the rise. That is happening because great businesses like Hitachi have confidence in this area."
Full production at the site, which is the size of 20 football pitches, starts next year and the trains it produces will be larger and more comfortable than current rolling stock, the firm said.
Osborne said: "Today we see a major boost for the UK with Hitachi investing millions in returning train manufacturing to the North East.
"This state-of-the-art facility will grow and secure jobs for decades to come and will help us to build the Northern Powerhouse while at the same time revitalising one of our oldest industries in the region within which this tradition is synonymous."
To celebrate the opening a time capsule was buried at the site, including a small model of Hitachi's Class 800/801 Inter City Express train, digital photos of trains painted by local school children, a map of Newton Aycliffe, a profile of site architect Masayuki Ninomiya and a mobile phone with photos and videos.
Chairman and CEO of Hitachi Hiroaki Nakanishi said: “Today is a momentous occasion for Hitachi Rail, Newton Aycliffe and the British rail industry. We have brought train design and manufacturing back home to its birthplace in the North East.”
“In our world-class facility we will combine the best of Japanese technology with the best of British manufacturing to make the best trains for Britain and the world.”
“It is our culture as a business to take a long-term view in everything we do. From our investment here in Newton Aycliffe, to our network of new train maintenance centres across the UK, to our ongoing work in building a strong regional supply chain - Hitachi is here to stay.”