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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

New IEP factory could be used for Crossrail trains

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A new train factory in the north east could be used for the construction of Crossrail trains as well as the IEP, say sources close to the project.

The Newton Aycliffe plant has the capacity to produce approximately 35 vehicles a month with two production lines and two shift working.

The contract puts Hitachi in a strong position regarding the upcoming Crossrail order, as sources close to the project say it would probably, given the IEP’s delivery schedule, be possible for the IEP to be constructed using just one production line with another parallel line, given the quantity and delivery timescale, being able to be utilised for constructing Crossrail trains.

Following the Department for Transport’s (DfT) private notification on July 9 that Agility Trains, the Hitachi-led consortium, had won the £4.5 billion Intercity Express Programme contract for 596 vehicles, the details were formally announced on July 25. This follows a standstill period, that has to be at least 10 days in duration, that allows the decision to be challenged.

After two years of negotiation, financial close has been reached on constructing the 125 mph rolling stock that will replace the Intercity 125 high-speed trains currently in use on the Great Western and East Coast routes. The East Coast part of the contract will be financed next year.

Construction of the 92 train sets will take place at a new factory in Newton Aycliffe, with ground works expected to commence in the near future.

The IEP contract is expected to create over 730 jobs

The Newton Aycliffe site is expected to be fully operational by 2015 and between then and 2018, when construction of the IEP and possibly Crossrail trains is expected to be concluded, will provide Hitachi with ample opportunity to pursue other contracts such as possible new trains for Merseyrail and other mainland European orders.

The construction of a mixed fleet of both electric and bi-mode trains, the first time in recent history that bi-mode rolling stock has been earmarked for the UK rail market, means that services will be able to continue along non-electrified routes without the need to attach a diesel locomotive. This decision not to introduce a fleet of all electric trains is estimated to save approximately £200 million.

It is envisaged that the first IEPs will enter service on the Great Western Main Line in 2017 and the East Coast Main Line in 2018 and the sets will be maintained in a number of new and upgraded maintenance facilities at Swansea, Bristol, west London and Doncaster.

The DfT says there are options , depending on plans by winners of the Great Western, East Coast and West Coast franchises, for ordering further IEP vehicles.

Ironically the first locomotive to arrive in Japan was built in the UK.

In 1868, Thomas Glover brought steam locomotive Iron Duke to Japan, where it worked along an eight-mile stretch of track in Nagasaki. It took until 2007 for the first Japanese built trains, the class 395s, to arrive in the UK.


    • The impression given is that Newton Aycliffe will be Hitachi’s only factory in this part of the World, where all European orders (if they materialise that is!) will be designed and assembled. The European builders will undoubtedly fight to ensure that Hitachi does not survive.

  1. I am getting the distinct impression that both Government Ministers and the DfT are doing their level best to ensure that Crossrail trains ARE built at Newton Aycliffe. Otherwise, once the IEP contract is complete, Hitachi in Europe might be short-lived if they do not secure any further orders. Remember the Thrall waggon building factory at York, which closed after completing just one order for EWS because it could not compete with established European firms.


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