As the days pass and the clock ticks down on the time available for a solution to be found at Hitachi, the challenges facing everyone involved are becoming increasingly apparent.

In the nine years since the factory was opened in September 2015, in the presence of both Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne, hundreds of trains have been built and billions of pounds of investment has helped support the region’s economy.

But this is not just about nostalgia. The future also looks promising. Hitachi will start building HS2 trains in 2026 – with support from the Alstom factory in Derby. There are multi-billion-pound contracts across the UK which will be available soon. We still need to build trains and there is no reason they can’t be made in County Durham.

But none of this work can, understandably, begin anytime soon. However huge these contracts could become in the years ahead, they won’t fill the production gap that is hurtling down the track at alarming speed. It appears time is running out to find an answer.

The reasons for this have been well debated. Why did Hitachi miss out on a number of key contracts in recent years, such as the Nexus Metro and London Underground projects? Has the Government done enough to keep all our rail manufacturers competitive? How do we limit the peaks and troughs in production cycles so this doesn’t happen again?

The most important thing now is to find a positive outcome. Hitachi is desperate for a viable way forward but bosses clearly feel like the Government can do more to help. Transport Secretary Mark Harper believes the ‘ball is in the company’s court to come back to us with some options’. This stand-off must be resolved.

Hitachi has been profitable in the past and clearly will be in the future. It would be madness if a short-term solution cannot be found to what has - and will continue to be - a huge North East success story.

Everybody involved in The Northern Echo’s Keep Hitachi on Track campaign wants the same thing – the factory to be protected, jobs to be saved and work to continue for years to come.

It is time for everyone to get around the negotiating table and make sure this happens.