Hitachi Newton Aycliffe

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Hitachi Newton Aycliffe
Newton Aycliffe Rail Vehicle Assembly Facility exterior
Newton Aycliffe Rail Vehicle Assembly Facility exterior
Hitachi Newton Aycliffe is located in County Durham
Hitachi Newton Aycliffe
Location in County Durham
Built3 September 2015 (2015-09-03)
LocationNewton Aycliffe
Coordinates54°35′33″N 1°35′15″W / 54.5925°N 1.5875°W / 54.5925; -1.5875Coordinates: 54°35′33″N 1°35′15″W / 54.5925°N 1.5875°W / 54.5925; -1.5875
IndustryRolling stock assembly
ProductsBritish Rail Class 385
British Rail Class 800
British Rail Class 801
David Cameron at the opening of Hitachi Newton Aycliffe

Hitachi Newton Aycliffe is a railway rolling stock assembly plant owned by Hitachi Rail Europe, situated in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, in the North East of England. Construction started in 2013 at a cost of £82 million, with train assembly commencing in 2015.[1] It was the first factory that Hitachi built in Europe, as a result of it winning the Intercity Express Programme tender.[2] No actual manufacturing operation takes place at the site; it assembles components built elsewhere into completed trains. By October 2017, the plant employed over 1000 members of staff.[3][4]


In 2007, the Department for Transport (DfT) in the United Kingdom decided to procure new trains to replace the InterCity 125 fleet and on 12 February 2009, the DfT announced that Agility Trains, a consortium led by Hitachi, had won the tender. In 2011 Hitachi chose the site of the UK factory at developer Merchant Place Developments' Amazon Park (later renamed Merchant Park mid-2013)[5] site in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham,[6][7] close to Heighington railway station and adjacent to the Tees Valley Line.[note 1] Hitachi announced its intention to proceed with construction of the facility in July 2012, after financial closure was achieved for the part of the train order that concerned the GWML.[8] The contract for the construction of the £82 million 43,000 m2 (460,000 sq ft) factory was awarded to Shepherd Group on 1 November 2013.[9][10] Construction of the factory was scheduled to start in 2013, with train production beginning in 2015[11] and the plant reaching full production capacity in 2016.[8] Erection of the frame of the factory was complete by June 2014,[12] with an official topping out ceremony held in October 2014.[13] The factory was officially opened on 3 September 2015, in the presence of Hiroaki Nakanishi (Hitachi), Patrick McLoughlin (MP), Claire Perry (MP), George Osborne (MP), David Cameron (Prime Minister of the United Kingdom) and 500 guests.[14] It has created 420 jobs, and aims to employ more than 700 jobs at maximum capacity. It was reported that it received over 16,000 job applications, in an area where the Teesside Steelworks recently closed down with a loss of 3000 jobs.

In January 2016 it was announced that Hitachi's successful tender for the Edinburgh to Glasgow Improvement Programme consisting of new Class 385s would be primarily assembled at Newton Aycliffe, and as part of FirstGroup's successful tender for the TransPennine Express franchise, it was announced in March 2016 that new Class 802 rolling stock would be assembled at Newton Aycliffe.[15][16] It was claimed by Hiroaki Nakanishi that a UK vote to leave the European Union would result in a scaling back of investment in Newton Aycliffe, a claim which was echoed by local Labour politician, and backer of Britain Stronger in Europe, Phil Wilson.[17]

In March 2019, FirstGroup ordered five AT300 trains for its Open-access services on the East Coast Main Line (trading as East Coast Trains). The five units will be built at Newton Aycliffe and maintained by Hitachi for ten years as part of the £100 million deal.[18] When this order was announced, Hitachi stated that the plant needed new orders especially after it had lost out on the Deep Tube contract with London Underground to rival firm Siemens. The company said that it would be bidding for a proposed bi-mode fleet for the East Midlands Franchise and the replacement trains for the Nexus contract on the Tyne and Wear Metro.[19]


The factory covers over 31.5 acres of land with a building footprint of 44,000 m2.[20] It can assemble a maximum of 35 vehicles a month. The site is situated close to where George Stephenson assembled Locomotion No. 1, the first locomotive to carry passengers on a public rail line.[21]

New trains outside Hitachi's Newton Aycliffe facility; Class 385s fill the yard with three GWR 800/3 sets on the right with an 08 shunter


  1. ^ 54°35′39″N 1°35′19″W / 54.59412°N 1.588495°W / 54.59412; -1.588495 – location of the Hitachi factory, Amazon Park / Merchant Park, Newton Aycliffe
  1. ^ UK, DVV Media. "Hitachi opens Newton Aycliffe rolling stock plant". Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  2. ^ "Train manufacture starts at Hitachi Newton Aycliffe plant". Darlington and Stockton Times. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  3. ^ "Hitachi unveils first UK built trains at Co Durham factory". ITV News. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Hitachi unveils first finished ScotRail Class 385". Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Amazon Park". Archived from the original on 24 May 2013.
  6. ^ "Hitachi go-ahead 'a massive boost for the North East'" (PDF) (Press release). Merchant Place Developments. 8 March 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 April 2012.
  7. ^ "Agility Trains Confirm Intercity Express Programme Contract" (PDF) (Press release). Agility Trains. 1 March 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 February 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Intercity Express Programme Financial Close Paves Way for Hitachi Investment in Rail Manufacturing and Assembly Plant" (Press release). Hitachi via Japan Corporate News Network. 25 July 2012.
  9. ^ Knowlson, Laura (1 November 2013). "Shepherd to build £82 million train factory". The Press. York.
  10. ^ Hitachi Rail Europe Manufacturing Plant - Start of Construction Phase Ceremony with Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP and Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP (Press release), Hitachi, 1 November 2013
  11. ^ "£4.5 billion investment in new trains creates new jobs" (Press release). Department for Transport. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  12. ^ "Hitachi Rail Europe Completes Steel Frame of Manufacturing Facility",, 2 June 2014, archived from the original on 6 June 2014
  13. ^ "Hitachi Rail Europe tops out Newton Aycliffe factory",, 30 October 2014
  14. ^ Sources:
  15. ^ UK, DVV Media. "ScotRail Class 385 EMUs under construction". Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  16. ^ UK, DVV Media. "Hitachi awarded TransPennine Express multiple-unit contract". Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  17. ^ "Brexit could force Newton Aycliffe's Hitachi to rethink its commitment to UK, warns chairman". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  18. ^ "FirstGroup and Hitachi announce new partnership for high speed trains linking London and Edinburgh". Rail Professional. 21 March 2019. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  19. ^ Clinnick, Richard (10 April 2019). "Train orders crucial to Newton Aycliffe future". Rail Magazine. No. 876. Peterborough: Bauer Media. pp. 20–21. ISSN 0953-4563.
  20. ^ Ltd, White October. "UK Manufacturing Facility | Hitachi Rail Europe". Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  21. ^ Richardson, Andy (3 September 2015). "Cameron welcomes train manufacturing back to the North-East". The Northern Echo. Newsquest. Retrieved 28 July 2016. The new factory is close to Heighington Crossing where, almost 190 years ago to the day, George Stephenson assembled Locomotion No. 1 and began the first generation of passenger engines.