Tees

Newton Aycliffe's Hitachi train plant opens

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Media captionDavid Cameron said the railways had come home to the North East.

An £82m train factory has been officially opened in County Durham.

The Hitachi plant in Newton Aycliffe will employ 730 workers assembling high-speed Intercity trains for the East Coast and Great Western main lines.

It has been hailed as an economic boost, with many local companies involved in the plant's construction.

At the opening ceremony Prime Minister David Cameron said it was a "show of confidence" in the region.

"This is Hitachi's first factory in Europe and their massive investment is a sign of their commitment to the United Kingdom and a real show of confidence in our economy and of confidence in the North East," he said.

"I think this is a really big moment for the region. Train manufacturing has come back to the North East."

Image copyright Ian Forsyth/Getty Images
Image caption The facility will produce the Intercity Express Programme trains for the East Coast main line and Great Western Rail line

First Great Western rail workers went on strike over the bank holiday weekend in a dispute over the introduction of the new high-speed trains.

The RMT union fears guards and buffet cars will be scrapped on the fleet of Hitachi Inter City Express trains.

The first Hitachi trains are due to run on the Great Western main line from 2017 and the East Coast main line from 2018.

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