Town’s hopes for trains spin-off

BUSINESS experts were today examining the potential for spin-off trade for the Hartlepool area after the region secured a massive deal to build new trains.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed Hitachi has been awarded a share of the £4.5bn Intercity Express Programme (IEP) deal.

The announcement means the Japanese company will build a multi-million pound plant in Newton Aycliffe to assemble the next generation of trains.

This would create around 500 jobs directly and a further 8,000 in the supply chain – and officials at Tees Valley Unlimited are hoping their own area can benefit because of the strength within the manufacturing sector.

Sandy Anderson, chairman of Tees Valley Unlimited, said: “There is a long tradition of train building in the North-East which is reflected in its extensive manufacturing and skills base.

“So I’m delighted that the Government has given its backing to Hitachi, which has chosen Newton Aycliffe as the location for a train assembly plant.

“This will have a significant impact on job creation in this area.

“Tees Valley Unlimited will be seeking talks with representatives from Hitachi to identify potential opportunities for companies within the supply chain to ensure the area gets the maximum benefits from this project.”

The IEP could bring an overall £660m boost to the North-East’s economy over the next 20 years, with experts concluding that every £1 invested by the Government in bringing train building back to the region would be turned into £48 in the local economy.