A FAMILY-RUN steel firm has made a new appointment as it pushes on with work to build an £82m train factory.

Finley Structures, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, has welcomed senior quantity surveyor Diane Ruston.

Ms Ruston previously worked for Severfield Watson Structures, part of Thirsk-based Severfield-Rowen, and her move to Finley coincides with its building of Hitachi Rail Europe's Aycliffe plant.

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The factory will open in 2016, creating 730 direct jobs.

Hitachi will make high-speed trains for the East Coast line, which links the North-East with London and Scotland.

Ms Ruston, an economics graduate, said: “The attraction was working for a family firm, and working in smaller teams.

“I can get more involved in the systems side of jobs and looking at procedures, and the opportunity to work on projects like Hitachi's factory is fantastic.

“It's great to be working on such a high-profile project straight away.

“I look after the financial and legal side of the project, sub-contract orders and working on our contract with main contractor Shepherd Construction.

“At the moment we're working on the main shed build, so there's a lot of Hitachi steel going through our factory.

“Around September time we'll start working on the secondary elements.”

Ms Ruston's appointment comes six months after Severfield-Rowen's operations director Jim Graham joined Finley as operations manager.

Julie Finley, managing director, added: “Diane's appointment is another hugely positive development and indicator of the direction we're heading.

“Our team has already showed its capability to work on major projects.

“However, Diane brings more qualities to the table and, as well as working on the Hitachi project, her knowledge and expertise will only enhance the projects we're working on and will win in the future.”