First British-built Class 800 unveiled

Photo: Hitachi.

Hitachi is celebrating the completion of the first Class 800 IEP train to be built in the UK.

An event is being held at the company’s factory in Newton Aycliffe today to mark the milestone. It is the first of 110 Class 800/1 trains to be built at the £82 million site, which opened in 2015.

In total, Hitachi is supplying 122 electric and bi-mode trains for the Great Western and East Coast main lines. The first 12 units were manufactured in Japan and shipped to the UK.

Newton Aycliffe opened its Class 800/1 production line in the early part of this year. Although many of the main components, like the body shells and the bogies, are still being made in Japan, final assembly will all take place in the UK and the project is supported by a number of British suppliers.

The first completed train is one of the five-car bi-mode units for Great Western. The new series will debut on the GWML next year. Testing is already well underway.

Karen Boswell, managing director of Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “Today is a celebration of the return of train manufacturing to the North East, supporting thousands of jobs and developing a strong engineering skills base in the region.”

She added: “Trains running across the country’s rail network will be built by a proud workforce harnessing the best of Hitachi’s long standing rail expertise.

“The company that built the world famous bullet trains is now building the next generation of UK trains, which will deliver a step change in intercity travel, offering more capacity, greater comfort and a lower carbon footprint.”

Attending today’s event is Kentaro Masai, vice president and executive officer, chief operating officer, Railway Systems Business Unit, Hitachi. In a statement, he said: “It is my greatest pleasure to be here today to celebrate the completion of the first Hitachi IEP train manufactured in the UK.

“It was 90 years ago in 1926 that a senior Hitachi engineer first visited the North of England to study the leading edge railway technology of the time.

“Today, we have a modern intercity train built in the North East by combining the best of Japanese technology delivered with the best of British manufacturing.”

As well as delivering trains for Intercity Express Programme (IEP), Newton Aycliffe is manufacturing EMUs for ScotRail. It is also building the majority of the carriages for the 19 bi-mode trains ordered by TransPennine Express earlier this year.