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£4.5bn Hitachi deal to bring 500 jobs to County Durham
THE Government has announced a £4.5bn train-building deal which will bring 500 jobs to the North-East.
Transport Minister Philip Hammond has given the go-ahead to the Intercity Express Programme - a project to deliver a new generation of high-speed trains.
He said he was proceeding with the Hitachi-led Agility Trains consortium to fulfil the contract.
The Japanese company just needs to prove it has all the financing in place to secure the deal.
Mr Hammond said he was "confident" that financing will not stand in Hitachi's way.
The deal will see the company build a fleet of bi-mode diesel trains with the capability of running on electric or diesel.
Mr Hammond said Hitachi had pledged to build a huge assembly plant at Newton Aycliffe
A separate announcement is expected from Vince Cable's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills explaining how the Government will assist with the financing of the County Durham plant.
The Northern Echo understands Hitachi is likely to start work on the site as early as next year, with the first engine completed by 2016.
Full story, reaction, background and analysis in tomorrow's Northern Echo