The government has confirmed that it plans to spend about £4.5b on a new fleet of trains from Intercity Express just three years after it it announced that Hitachi would be the new provider of its trains. The Department of Transportation stated that the new decision will help to create about 900 new jobs and will secure thousands of additional jobs.
Hitachi is a construction partner with the consortium of Agility Trains that also includes companies such as John Laing. In order to fulfill the new order 92 trains will be assembled at a Newton Aycliffee factor located in County Durham.
This will see the addition of 730 skilled jobs in the area and another 200 people will be hired during the construction stage of the project. Outside of the new factory, Hitachi will also be creating a new European rail research centre at the Aycliffee factory that will lead to some new construction jobs.
Other construction jobs will be created as Hitachi builds maintenance depts. That will be located in Swansea, Doncaster, west London, and Bristol. In addition, the company also plans to upgrade depots that are already built around the country.
The new IEP train fleet will present a combination of bi-mode and electric trains some of which will be five vehicles long and some of which will be nine vehicles long. They will also be able to accelerate from their starting points a bit quicker than the stock that already exists and will have more features that allow them to be used for more frequent services.
They also have a higher seating capacity and passenger comfort is supposed to be enhanced by offering more leg room to passengers and more room for luggage. They each have performance targets to meet as well before they hit the rails.