The United Kingdom’s rail industry can afford to smile with the news that the first completed pre-series Class 800 train is on its way.

The train, built by Hitachi in Japan, is the first of a fleet of 122 trains set for the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line, as part of the Department for Transport’s Intercity Express programme.

Even better news for the rail industry in the UK is that the bulk of the fleet will be manufactured in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. The factory is currently under construction and will employ over 700 staff.

Simon Jones, managing director of PRV Engineering said; “It’s good news all round for the rail industry and manufacturing industry in the UK.”

The current pre-series Class 800 comprises many parts and components, manufactured here in the UK.

The brake systems from Knorr-Bremse are manufactured in Melksham and pantographs from Brecknell Willis in Chard, Somerset.

The train being shipped will arrive in the UK in March of this year, after which it will be equipped with various measurement devices for testing. Once tested, it will enter service on the Great Western Main Line.

If all goes according to plan, the train is scheduled to begin running tests, as well as serving for training of onboard staff, in April.

The running tests are to be carried out on the UK Rail Network by Hitachi Rail Europe, to enable acceptance by Agility Trains, the special-purpose company that will own the trains.

Hitachi Rail Europe will also provide the trains for the operating companies First Great Western and Inter City Railways.

Great news for County Durham

The news has certainly given County Durham a significant boost with Hitachi currently in the process of building its Rail Vehicle Manufacturing Facility in Newton Aycliffe.

The plant, which will cost more than £80million, will be completed in the summer with production of Class 800 series trains scheduled to begin in 2016.

Around 730 staff are eventually expected to be hired at the plant, including research and development facilities staff.

What you think of the new Class 800 series train? Let us know.

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