Hitachi wins contract to build UK 'bullet' trains
Transport secretary announces 30 new trains from Japanese firm for London to Aberdeen route
Mark Leftly is political correspondent at The Independent on Sunday and associate business editor across the Independent titles. He writes a weekly column, Parliamentary Business, published on a Wednesday, that covers politics and the City. He is a multi-award winning reporter and was named Press Gazette's business magazine journalist of the year prior to joining The Independent on Sunday.
Thursday 18 July 2013
The Government has ordered a £1.2 billion train fleet modelled on London 2012's Olympic Javelin for the East Coast Mainline that runs from the capital to Aberdeen.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced today that Hitachi Rail Europe will manufacture 30 nine-car electric trains to replace the Intercity 225 stock that entered service over 20 years ago. These Class 800 series vehicles are essentially the British versions of the high speed Japanese bullet trains.
Although Hitachi is a Japanese firm, transport sources close to Whitehall were keen to stress that everything from interior lighting built in Essex to gangways manufactured in Derby comes from the UK. The trains themselves will be produced in a County Durham factory that the Department for Transport said represents an £82 million investment in the North-east of England.
One industry source admitted the decision to go with Hitachi could be “contentious”, but pointed out that “these are still British jobs in a global economy”. The source added: “Nearly all the parts are manufactured in the UK and you can safely say that the 'baby bullet' is built in Britain.”
McLoughlin said: “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 slashing journey times and bolstering capacity, but will stimulate economic growth through improved connectivity in some of Britain's biggest cities."
The trains can closely control temperatures in the carriages, provide power sockets at every seat and can freshly cook 100 breakfasts or dinners in a two-hour journey. More than 90 of these Class 800 Series have already been ordered for other parts of the Intercity Express programme.
The Government also hopes that the order will help the UK develop the skills and manufacturing base to once again compete for train exports in European markets.
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 5 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Bangkok Bomb: Thai police name Adem Karadag as suspect arrested over blast that killed 20
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn voters most likely to believe 'world is controlled by a secretive elite'
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...