Talks between politicians on the future of the Hitachi plant in Newton Aycliffe are set to continue in the coming weeks as the rail manufacturer faces uncertainty due to a lack of orders.

Nearly ten years after Hitachi first opened its doors in the town, the way ahead is uncertain as work could run out by the end of the year, putting 750 jobs at risk.

Despite being hailed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as a “fantastic example of world-class manufacturing” in 2023, the company has orders left for just 56 trains and no current solution to plug a manufacturing gap.

Now, a week after The Northern Echo launched its Keep Hitachi on Track campaign in a bid to save the factory, it is understood that further discussions are set to take place this month in a desperate attempt to find a solution.

Government officials say they are ‘committed’ to helping Hitachi and other rail manufacturers across the UK and have pointed towards a series of future contracts in the years ahead.

But, ministers have told Hitachi they had no plans to order more trains to run on the West Coast mainline, which the firm saw as the only viable way to plug the gap.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Rail manufacturing plays an important role in growing the UK economy, supporting British jobs, and delivering better services for passengers.

“The Government is committed to supporting the entire sector and is working with all rolling stock manufacturers, including Hitachi, on the future pipeline of orders which we expect to remain strong in the coming years.

“More recently, new long-distance trains have been procured on LNER and the tender process for new trains on TransPennine Express is live for all manufacturers to bid for.”

Last week, shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said: “The Secretary of State has it in his power to vary their contracts and commission the necessary orders.

“When is he going to do it and protect these jobs?”

In his letter, published on X, formerly Twitter, he said: “Some of the things you have said on this aren’t right and, given how important this issue is, I want to explain why that is.

“In particular, the erroneous suggestion that there is a simple solution to complex matters involving multiple parties.

“In most cases rolling stock procurements are carried out by train operators, who lease their train fleets through rolling stock owning companies.”

The Government’s response has been slammed by leaders including Labour’s North East Mayoral Candidate Kim McGuinness who said “workers at Hitachi in Newton Aycliffe don’t need sympathy. They need action, they need security”.

A Hitachi Rail spokesperson said: “We have been engaged in discussions at all levels of UK Government for two years, in an attempt to find a solution to the production gap at our Newton Aycliffe manufacturing facility.

“Disappointingly these discussions have not resulted in a positive resolution. We are now reviewing all remaining options available to us in order to keep our manufacturing teams building rolling stock to support the UK rail industry.”