NORTH-EAST train builder Hitachi has been lauded by the Government for its decision to use UK suppliers on its rolling stock.

The company is working with more than 30 companies, including three in the region, to make trains for the Intercity Express Programme.

Glassmaker Romag, in Leadgate, County Durham, will make and repair train windows, with Gateshead-based Petards supplying passenger counting systems and driver reminder safety switches, and Nomad Digital, of Newcastle, producing on-board servers.

The new generation of trains will enter service on the Great Western Main Line, which runs via Bristol to south Wales, in 2017, and the East Coast Main Line, which connects the North-East to Scotland and London, the following year.

The Japanese company will start work at its Newton Aycliffe factory in 2016, employing 730 workers.

Business Secretary Vince Cable, who last year visited the site of Hitachi’s £82m factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, said: “The decision to work with suppliers from across the country shows the UK is advancing as a global leader in rail manufacturing.

“The Government is committed to helping companies attract inward investment to develop strong, coordinated and competitive supply chains in the UK.

“I’m greatly encouraged to see world leading companies, such as Hitachi, placing their confidence in UK suppliers.”

The construction of Hitachi’s plant has also created work for a number of companies in the North-East supply chain.

Shepherd Construction, the main contractor for the project, gave Aycliffe’s Finley Structures the task of constructing the steel frame of the main factory on the 42,700sq metre site at Aycliffe Business Park.

Ryder Architecture, in Newcastle, worked alongside Durham City-based TGA Consulting Engineers on detailed plans for the factory site, with South Durham Draughting, in South Church, Bishop Auckland, providing CAD drawing services.

Hall Construction, in Rushyford, near Aycliffe, won a deal to shift tonnes of earth to clear the way for construction.