TEES Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has stood by his claim that HS2 will "deliver nothing to improve rail connectivity" in the Tees Valley despite praising a contract for the trains to be built in County Durham. 

It comes after it was announced on Thursday that the state-of-the-art high-speed trains will be built by Hitachi/Alstom JV at their factory in Newton Aycliffe, in a major deal set to support 2,500 jobs in the UK.

For the first time in its history, the fleet of 54 trains will be designed and assembled on home soil, supporting jobs in the North East and their supply chains, including apprentices and roles for young people.

Read more: Hundreds of jobs to be created as Newton Aycliffe gets HS2 green light

The Northern Echo: What HS2 trains could look likeWhat HS2 trains could look like

Mr Houchen welcomed the news, saying it would pave the way for more high-skilled jobs to come to the region. 

However, the mayor's views on HS2 rail and its lack-of-impact on the region have been well documented. 

After the announcement of the government's Integrated Rail Plan, Mr Houchen said: "HS2 will deliver nothing for Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool. The whole project is a waste of money and should be scrapped in order to focus on improving regional rail travel.

“As mayor, if I was given one per cent of the HS2 budget I would be able to revolutionise public transport on a scale we couldn’t possibly imagine today."

And in 2019, he said: "HS2, at the moment, does not benefit the North-East at all."

When contacted by The Northern Echo on Thursday, the mayor stuck by his initial statements. He added: “I have always said that HS2 will deliver nothing to improve rail connectivity or the passenger experience across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.

“Investment into our region is always welcome and I'm thrilled to see our great manufacturing businesses succeed,  supporting hundreds of good-quality jobs for local people along the way.”

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