Posted 18th April 2024 | 1 Comment

Attention turns to Hitachi in train-building rescue plans

The future of the Alstom plant at Litchurch Lane in Derby is looking more secure, after ‘intensive discussions’ between Alstom Group and the government, but there is still serious concern over the future of the Hitachi plant at Newton Aycliffe in County Durham, which was built a decade ago to supply the new Intercity Express fleets, and where 750 jobs could be at risk.

The gap in new train orders is affecting Newton Aycliffe as well as Derby, but the Prime Minster told the Commons yesterday that ‘the Department for Transport and the secretary of state have been actively engaged with companies to ensure that we have a robust supply chain’.

The Department for Transport said there had been ‘constructive’ talks with union representatives, and that it remained ‘committed to secure a sustainable future for rail manufacturing at Newton Aycliffe’.

Meanwhile Unite the union has urged the government to ‘pull its finger out’, because Unite wants to see more trains built in County Durham for the West Coast Main Line.

Hitachi said: ‘The North East skills base and supply chain we have built has delivered social value and levelling-up. Maintaining these benefits is in the national interest. Despite the lack of certainty, we remain committed to working with all stakeholders to find a viable way forward for our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe.

‘Preserving regional skills and supply chain will allow us to be competitive in future procurements and support British economic growth.’

Reader Comments:

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  • Chris Hamilton, Carluke

    I would have hoped that ScotRail/SRH/Transport Scotland - whoever calls the shots these days - could provide an order for more 385s to get rid of the increasingly dated 318s and potentially even the 320s. They could maybe even tie an order on to the end of that for a battery hybrid 385 for Fife services, giving them time to throw up wires on the Fife Circle (missing out the expensive bits at the Forth Bridge and around Kinghorn). I understand Hitachi have a design on the board for a battery hybrid 385.

    Then, and I know this will upset the purists out there, lets look at some type of Class 800 to replace the HSTs before the ASLEF drivers refuse to drive them.