“I WASN'T going to miss this for the world,” said the Prime Minister, as he welcomed train building back to the North-East.

“We have been waiting for this for five years, I have talked about it in Parliament and it is good to come here and see it in person,” he added.

Speaking to an audience of more than 600 politicians, business leaders and journalists from all around the world, David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne yesterday led celebrations at the opening of Hitachi’s £82m manufacturing site in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

The plant will employ 730 people and make inter city trains for the East Coast and Great Western lines, and commuter trains for Scotland. Production is due to start in November.

The new factory is close to Heighington Crossing where, almost 190 years ago to the day, George Stephenson assembled Locomotion No. 1 and began the first generation of passenger engines.

Mr Cameron added: “This is a really big moment for the region. Train manufacturing has come back to the North-East.

“It’s great in terms of jobs for local people and it’s great for skills – the sort of highly skilled manufacturing work that our country needs as we rebuild our manufacturing base. It also means the potential for thousands of jobs in the supply chain. We want this to be the start of a great revival in terms of manufacturing in the North-East.”

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson welcomed the return of train building to the area, and added: “I see a bright future for Newton Aycliffe. The town now boasts the largest industrial estate in the North-East and with Hitachi working as a catalyst for new investment I believe Aycliffe will go from strength to strength.”

" I am extremely proud of what we have achieved with the opening of the Hitachi facility today , it has been a long and challenging journey over the past five years from outsiders to today's opening of the state of the Art Facility at Merchant Park in Newton Aycliffe .

Thank you to The Northern Echo, Durham County Council, Phil Wilson and all in the North-East for their support on this journey.

"We wish Hitachi all the success for the future," said, Geoff Hunton of Merchant Place Developments which owns the land where the factory has been built.

Mr Hunton, along with Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson, Durham County Council and Business Durham, played a pivotal role in Hitachi decision to invest in Aycliffe.

Building of the facility took about 20 months and was led by York-based Shepherd, which managed the project from its Darlington office.

Mark Perkins, chief executive at Shepherd, said: "This achievement is the product of exceptional collaboration between talented local and regional suppliers. More than 30 companies, based within a 50 mile radius of site, shared 95 per cent of the total project spend and seeing this boost to the regional economy has been a particularly satisfying element of this project.”