AN MP is to write to the Mayor of London demanding to know why a £1.5bn contract to build a new generation of underground trains was awarded to a company that has yet to build its factory over skilled workers and a state-of-the-art facility "ready for business" in the North-East.

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson expressed disappointment following an announcement from Transport for London confirming Newton Aycliffe-based Hitachi Rail Europe had lost out on its joint bid with Bombardier to design and manufacture 94 Deep Tube trains to serve the London Underground's Piccadilly line.

He hit out at decision-makers over the winning bidder, German firm Siemens Mobility, which will now have to build a new factory in East Yorkshire in order to build the trains.

Mr Wilson said: "I will be meeting with Hitachi to discuss this further and I will be writing to Sadiq Khan about the awarding of this to a company that doesn't even have a factory built yet.

"I want to know why it's gone to a company that hasn't even built a factory yet when we've got two train builders in the country which employ 3,000 people together.

"There is a skilled workforce and a state-of-the-art factory that is open and ready for business here."

Hitachi and Derby train-maker Bombardier submitted their joint-venture bid for the scheme in September 2016.

In a statement from Transport for London, it claims the Siemens Mobility factory would employ up to 700 people plus up to an additional 250 people during the construction phase of the factory.

As a result, around 1,700 indirect jobs would be created throughout the UK supply chain.

But Mr Wilson is unhappy that the move will see the more than 1,000 skilled workers at Hitachi - and the estimated 6,000 in the supply chain - miss out on a significant opportunity.

"This would have provided up to ten years of work in the factory at Hitachi," he added. "This was the train building industry working together for the good of the industry.

"It's a slap in the face for UK private limited companies in the North.

"A sum of £600m was spent on the supply chain last year and the vast majority was in the North-East of England.

"They estimate there's about 6,000 jobs in the supply chain with Hitachi.

"They've gone to the higher bidder, with taxpayer money, and Hitachi would have been a cheaper option - for a better train."

In the meantime, Mr Wilson has pledged his support to securing work to boost the region's economy.

He said: "I know as a company they would have like to have got this but there will be other contracts out there that they will be bidding for and I will work with them to see if we can secure them."

From 2023, the 94 new state-of-the-art Inspiro trains will be delivered on the Piccadilly line enabling up to 27 trains-per-hour to operate at peak times by the end of 2026 - up from the current service level of 24 tph.

That is a train every 135 seconds at the busiest times.

Mike Brown MVO, commissioner of Transport for London, said: "Today's announcement of our intention to award the contract to design and build a new generation Tube train is a huge milestone for London Underground.

"We are delivering the biggest investment programme in our history to continue to improve customers' journeys and support London's population and employment growth.

"It also demonstrates once again that investment in London creates jobs and apprenticeship opportunities right across the country.

"These trains will transform the journeys of millions of our customers, and provide faster, more frequent and more reliable trains for decades to come."

The Northern Echo contacted Hitachi for a comment but they were unable to provide one.