A RAIL sector engineering firm is creating 30 jobs in a £100,000 North-East move.

Vivarail wants staff for a new factory on the outskirts of Seaham, east Durham.

The plant, due to open next month, will oversee the assembly of power units for ex-London Underground trains, and bosses have refused to rule out further expansion in the region.

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Known for transforming former Tube carriages into commuter trains, Warwickshire-based Vivarail fits new engines and associated technology to disused rolling stock to cut fuel consumption and emissions.

However, chief executive Adrian Shooter said the firm needs to extend its geographical base to meet its potential, revealing the North-East, which previously welcomed Japanese trainbuilder Hitachi Rail Europe, met its criteria.

Mr Shooter, a former Chiltern Railways chairman, said: “The North-East was a very attractive location, mainly because of its highly-skilled pool of engineering and manufacturing workers.

“The region already has a strong rail industry and we want to tap into this and look to buy locally where we can.

“Plus, we also have the opportunity to expand further here, depending on the speed and scale of future orders.”

Mr Shooter added three types of power packs will be assembled at the business’ new 11,000sq ft Spectrum Business Park factory, including a new battery-only system being developed with the help of £640,000 grant funding.

The firm received support from Business Durham, the business division of Durham County Council, to make its expansion a reality, and Peter Rippingale, the organisation’s inward investment manager, said he was delighted to welcome the operator to the region.

He added: “Vivarail is a very forward-thinking, modern company, bringing with it a good number of specialised jobs and making the most of the talent we have in the region.

“By investing in County Durham and pledging to use regional suppliers where possible, Vivarail is expected to have a real impact on the rail industry and the economy.”

Vivarail will join a North-East rail community bolstered by the introduction of Hitachi Rail Europe, which has now created work for more than 1,000 people at its Aycliffe plant and is making rolling stock for the Great Western and East Coast routes, as well as lines in Scotland.

The business has also been shortlisted alongside four rivals to make 225mph rolling stock for HS2, which the Government says will improve journey times between the north and London.