DfT confirms scaled-back £4.5bn InterCity Express order

DfT confirms scaled-back £4.5bn InterCity Express order

Wed 2 Mar 2011

The Department for Transport has placed a £4.5bn order with Agility Trains as part of the InterCity Express programme.

The order has been scaled back from around 1,400 carriages to just 500, but there had been speculation it would fall through completely.

The Agility consortium, of which Japanese firm Hitachi is the key part, was named preferred bidder two years ago, but a report by former civil servant Sir Andrew Foster criticised the plan.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said the DfT had rejected the option of an all-electric fleet which would have diesel locomotives attached to haul them on non-electrified lines. But there are fears over the amount of power and acceleration that the bi-modal diesel/electric trains on order will be able to achieve.

At least 500 jobs are expected to be created in County Durham when the consortium builds its new train factory at Newton Aycliffe. Thousands of supply jobs should also be created.

Japan has welcomed the decision, as has the North East Chamber of Commerce.

Its chief executive, James Ramsbotham, said: “This important announcement brings train building back to the home of the railways, which is testament to the skills that we still have in this sector and the high-quality workforce that will be assembled to deliver this work.”

In a statement, Hitachi said: “Hitachi is pleased to announce that Newton Aycliffe is the preferred site for its planned European rolling stock manufacturing and assembly centre.

“This investment will generate at least 500 new jobs, and major opportunities for the UK and European supply chain.”

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