A NORTH-EAST train builder has welcomed a second express model to the UK as it moves closer to starting work at an £82m factory.

Hitachi Rail Europe’s Class 800 has arrived at Southampton.

Bosses say it will be taken to the Rail Innovation and Development Centre (RIDC), in Nottinghamshire, to carry out tests for the Government’s InterCity Express Programme (IEP).

Hitachi has designed and built the Class 800 for IEP, which will bring new high speed services to the East Coast and Great Western lines.

A total of 110 IEP trains will be made at Hitachi’s Aycliffe site, creating 730 jobs.

A spokeswoman said: “The second pre-series train will be taken to RIDC to support the type testing programme for IEP.

“This will be undertaken in the various train formations applicable to the delivery of the IEP fleet.”

Its arrival follows another Class 800, which was welcomed by the then Transport Minister Claire Perry and Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson.

Made at Hitachi’s factory in Kasado, Japan, that is undergoing testing to get the fleet ready for service on Great Western from 2017 and East Coast from 2018.

As well as the IEP work, the company will make Scottish rolling stock, supplying 70 engines and 234 carriages to operator Abellio.

The 100mph next generation commuter trains, made up of 46 three-car and 24 four-car trains, known as AT200s, which will run from late 2017 on electrified lines between Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as routes covering Stirling, Alloa and Dunblane.

An initial seven engines will be made at Kasado, with the remaining 63 built at Aycliffe.