A TRAIN builder has secured a contract to build 70 new trams.

Hitachi, which has a site at Newton Aycliffe, in County Durham, signed a contract earlier this week to supply 70 trams to the city of Turin, in northern Italy.

The contract has been split into two tranches, the first includes the supply of 30 vehicles costing €63.417m.

They will be delivered starting from autumn 2021 and be produced in Hitachi Rail’s plants of Naples, Pistoia and Reggio Calabria in Italy.

The deal is good news for the company which in January lost a bid to build a new Tyne & Wear Metro fleet, at the Aycliffe plant, when Nexus awarded the £362m contract to Swiss company Stadler.

The purchase of the 30 Turin trams, which are 28 meters long, is entirely covered by the Italian Ministry of Transport thanks to an agreement with the city of Turin and it falls within the “rail cure”, designed to enhance rail transport systems within large urban centres.

The new Hitachi Rail trams will be delivered starting from autumn 2021 and will be built by Hitachi within 18 months.

The supply has a four-years-and-six-months warranty.

Maurizio Manfellotto, Hitachi Rail chairman and legal representative said: “Travelling by tram in Turin is an eco-sustainable and effective mobility option that the city has kept alive in a very forward-looking way.

"The vehicles we will provide to the city are part of the new tram platform developed in Italy by Hitachi Rail, an evolution of the previous SIRIO model and, at the same time, a synthesis of new technologies and ever higher performances in terms of safety, sustainability, comfort and travel experience for passengers.”

The air conditioning system of the vehicles ensures air exchange with the outside, ensuring high safety standards for passengers’ health and safety.

Hitachi's trams are built to be more comfortable, the large windows and the roof’s transparent side areas will offer greater internal brightness and more visibility of the outside.

The inside areas will offer a larger space for passengers compared to the old generation trams.

People with reduced mobility will have two dedicated equipped spaces to ease access and good wheelchairs’ mobility.

Chiara Appendino, mayor of the city of Turin said: "From our first day of work we have considered public transport a priority for the present and the future of Turin.

“After four years of hard work and investments to relaunch this fundamental service, today we can say to make another step forward with the Hitachi trams.

“An important goal for an ever safer and more sustainable mobility.

"And, not least, an important sign of progress and vision of the future for our whole community in a time of emergency that we are living.

“We thank everyone who is working with us in this direction.”

The style and the interior design of the new trams have been designed by Giugiaro Architettura.

They will have the two colours of the city, yellow and blue in consistency with one of the vehicles already circulating.

The new trams are low-floor and shorter than the current trams travelling in the city.

Due to an optimized arrangement of the internal spaces the new Hitachi trams will have a greater passenger capacity compared to the current ones.