The UK Department for Transport has signed an agreement with Agility Trains, a consortium of Hitachi Rail Europe and John Laing Investments, for the Intercity Express Programme (IEP).
The GBP4.5 billion contract will be executed to provide a fleet of intercity trains for commuters in the UK. The contract is expected to generate around 900 employment opportunities for local economies and includes trains, maintenance depots, and route upgrades.
Network Rail will be providing the infrastructure upgrades to allow new trains to function on the railway network. Agility Trains is responsible for delivery of train carriages, maintenance and daily service delivery, while Hitachi Rail Europe will be the sub-contractor for supplying the trains and offering operational assistance. The contract is intended to provide reliability by guaranteeing 27.5 years of train travel for UK commuters.
Alistair Dormer, the chief executive officer of Agility Trains, said, ‘We are absolutely delighted to have achieved contract award on the Intercity Express Programme. It is among the biggest contracts ever closed in the UK rail industry and will mean a step change in reliability, capacity and comfort to British passengers. The new fleet of trains will be substantially built in the UK by our supplier Hitachi Rail Europe in their new manufacturing plant in the north east of England, bringing additional socio-economic benefits to Great Britain.’
Hitachi will be providing 92 complete trains for the project at a new factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, which will also result in the creation of 730 skilled jobs, and around 200 jobs during construction of the factory.