Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has said he can “try to create the right environment” for manufacturers in Britain but cannot guarantee work for them, as he discussed Hitachi’s future during a visit to the region.

Hitachi, which has a factory in Newton Aycliffe, was snubbed from a £1.5bn contract to manufacture two-thirds of the new 94 Deep Tube trains to serve the London Underground’s Piccadilly line, which will now be built in Austria.

The region’s MPs and union bosses joined calls for the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to review the decision, with the transport secretary promising the North-East would have the Government’s full support to secure future deals.

But during his visit to Darlington and Yarm yesterday, Mr Grayling remained hopeful of Hitachi’s future and said the government “would do everything it can” to maintain a flow of business for the train-builder.

In the afternoon, Mr Grayling visited Darlington Railway Station along with Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, and prospective parliamentary candidate for Darlington, Peter Gibson.

Afterwards, Mr Houchen and Mr Grayling visited Yarm, where they were joined by the parliamentary candidate for Yarm, Matt Vickers. Mr Grayling was shown the traffic and parking problems, causing concern for Yarm residents, before a meeting took place to discuss possible solutions.

But when asked about the Hitachi snub, the Transport Secretary remained hopeful for Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe operations. He said: “The Government is working very closely with Hitachi. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure the factory continues have the flow of business through, and I’ve been very clear, in regards for example the HS2 contract coming up soon, that I want to see those trains designed and built in the UK.”

In Darlington, Mr Grayling had mentioned Darlington’s arterial role as a future-HS2 railway station. He said: “Ben Houchen and I have been working together for some while on how best we take forward the Darlington station project. We’ve got a detailed working meeting with officials next week to map out the project.

“I’m up in the North-East anyway doing a series of visits today and tomorrow, so from my point of view, it’s an opportunity to walk around the station, look at how the thinking here is taking shape.”

But during his visit in Yarm, the Mr Grayling said Hitachi still had three or four major contracts in the pipeline despite the London Underground snub.

He said: “Hitachi has teamed up with Bombardier they’re clearly one of the strong candidates to build those trains, but they’ve also got three or four other major contracts which are coming up.

“I think the way government can play a part is to be clear – we can be very clear that we want to see big contracts for new trains with skills from the United Kingdom, which means there are local apprentices, means there are local businesses involved in the projects as well.

“And I hope that helps a company like Hitachi for the future running of the business – but they’ve got very good prospects, there are a lot of further investments coming up which I hope they’ll be successful in.

Mr Grayling added: “I can’t guarantee any company business, but I can try and create the right environment for British-based businesses and manufacturers to succeed.”