The Transport Secretary Chris Grayling MP, the Japanese Ambassador to the UK, Koji Tsuruoka and Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, Andrew Percy MP were among other invited guests yesterday to see the first British-built Intercity Express train unveiled at the Hitachi Rail Europe site in Newton Aycliffe.
The visit comes as hopes that the North East could win the contract to build the trains for the HS2 rail link at the factory were given a boost recently when Mr Grayling said that the Government would ensure that the trains were built in the UK. The tender process will take place towards the end of the decade.
The trains will run on the £55 billion rail link between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds and the Department of Transport have confirmed that trains will also run to Darlington, Durham and Newcastle using the East Coast Main Line between Newcastle and York.
The trains will be 200 metres long with the possibility of connecting two trains to produce a 400-metre-long train with 1,100 seats.