A NORTH-EAST trainbuilder played its own part in a Royal celebration yesterday.

Rolling stock from Hitachi Rail Europe carried the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh on a reconstruction of the first train journey enjoyed by a monarch 175 years ago, from Slough to London Paddington.

The train was made in Japan and further worked on at Hitachi’s £82m plant in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, where the firm is making stock for East Coast and Great Western routes under the Government’s InterCity Express Programme (IEP).

The Great Western Railway model carrying its Royal guests is due to enter service later this year.

Karen Boswell, Hitachi Rail Europe managing director, said it was an honour to be involved in the event.

She added: “We trust Her Majesty enjoyed the comfort and smooth ride on our new train.”

Last month, Hitachi confirmed it had begun making body shells for trains, known as Azumas, which are destined to run on the East Coast main line.

At the time, bosses said initial work would be overseen in the company’s Japanese heartland, with the structures due to arrive in Aycliffe later this summer for manufacturing to start in earnest.

They added the 65 trains will provide operator Virgin with an extra 12,200 seats on the East Coast route, increasing its capacity into London King’s Cross by nearly 30 per cent at peak times. Trains are due to enter service next year.

Alongside its IEP work, the company is also making 100mph models destined for Scotland.

The Northern Echo previously revealed how Hitachi has now created more than 900 jobs at Aycliffe after smashing an initial 730-job target.