TRAIN builder Hitachi Rail Europe has awarded a contract to fit luggage storage on its Intercity Express Programme (IEP) rolling stock.

The firm has chosen Lordgate Engineering to supply racks and stacks for trains on the Great Western Main Line.

Bosses say the deal will see Lordgate, based in Cambridgeshire, design and make 8,600 luggage racks and 1,100 luggage stacks for Class 800 and Class 801 trains, which will operate from 2017.

Jamie Foster, Hitachi's procurement director, said: “Since the early stages of our supplier-selection process, Lordgate demonstrated paramount professionalism, impeccable craftsmanship and full commitment.

“We trust this is the beginning of a very successful and long-standing relationship.”

Paul Bright, Lordgate operations director, added: “We are delighted to sign the contract and grateful for the commitment Hitachi has demonstrated by awarding these contracts to our company.

“It sends a clear message that UK companies have the capacity to successfully secure business in today’s global market place.”

After securing the IEP contract, Hitachi has been approached by about 900 companies, mainly from the UK, which want to be involved in supplying its £82m plant in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

The Japanese company will start work at its North-East factory in 2016, employing 730 workers.