Good news for fans of 'British built' trains!
This from Hitachi...
Hitachi Rail Europe Signs Contract with Merchant Place Developments for Construction of New UK Train Factory
NEWTON AYCLIFFE, May 14, 2013 – Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd. today announced that it has signed the contract with Merchant Place Developments for the construction and fit-out of a rolling stock manufacturing plant in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, UK. Merchant Place Developments therefore have now gone from preferred bidder status to full contract award.
The contract paves the way for the construction of Hitachi’s first train factory in Europe, which represents an investment of £82 million to create its state-of-the-art manufacturing hub in the North East of England. Hitachi Rail Europe receives a £4 million grant by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to support the build of the factory...
The factory will initially be used to build the Super Express Trains for the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line, with the potential to be used for other orders such as building Crossrail rolling stock in the facility, should Hitachi Rail Europe be the successful bidder. Hitachi places great emphasis on employing locally where possible and the factory will create long-term employment for 730 people. This figure includes a Research & Development department. It is expected that 200 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the factory.
Good news indeed!
But what's this?
The release continues...
"The decision to build a manufacturing plant was taken after Hitachi Rail Europe won the contract with the Department for Transport (DfT) to replace the ageing fleet of diesel-powered Intercity trains currently running on the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line. The contract with the DfT was signed in July 2012."
What contract to replace 'ageing' diesels on the East Coast Main Line?
Perhaps DfT might care to share?
UPDATE: This from the East Coast High Panjandrum...
The DfT's contract with Hitachi does indeed see the replacement of the HSTs with IEPs.
Of course the issue under debate is what happens with Phase 2 - replacing the 225 fleet or not.
UPDATE: This from Captain Deltic...
There seems to be some confusion over IEP contracts.
This is not surprising, given the byzantine structure created by DfT to replace IC125.
Here is an extract from the Janet & John guide to Today's Railway:
- DfT has signed a total train service provision contract with Agility Trains to replace IC125 sets on Great Western and East Coast.
- Agility trains is led by Hitachi which will supply the Super Express Trains and depots and maintain the fleet for the next 27.5 years.
- Where the confusion arises is that the two fleets are being replaced separately through separate subsidiaries of Agility Trains, each of which will have contracts with a train operator.
- Agility Trains West is responsible for the Great Western fleet and has reached financial close.
- Agility Trains East will provide the East Coast replacement fleet and this deal has yet to reach financial close.
There is an option in this contract to replace the EC IC225 fleet with IEP. DfT was due to have appointed a financial advisor to monitor this deal last month.
Meanwhile, can I commend Nigel Harris' editorial in the latest RAIL on this very subject?