A TRAIN-building company has opened a new building at its North-East factory, bringing its investment in the region to more than £100million.

Hitachi has opened the new £5m building at its factory in Newton Aycliffe.

The building, which was named by a member of staff working at the factory, was unveiled by MP Phil Wilson.

Ross Nagle, chief operating officer for manufacturing said: “Our train building team are delivering truly world class trains to run across the country, and this new building is another step in Newton Aycliffe’s development.

“We are proud add a new chapter to the region’s rail heritage and seeing our long-term investment making a real impact to manufacturing in the North”

The building was named Aspire by factory worker Phil Lloyd.

It increases production capacity at the factory, which first opened in 2015, which is building intercity and commuter fleets harnessing Japanese bullet train technology.

Its first order was the Government-led £5.7bn Intercity Express Programme which includes the Azuma fleet for the East Coast main line.

Work started on the new trains for London North Eastern Railway (LNER) earlier this year.

The 65-strong Azuma fleet , due to start carrying passengers later this year, is planned to increase capacity into London’s King Cross by nearly 30 per cent at peak times.

MP Phil Wilson welcomed the fresh investment, which now stands at more than £100million.

He said: “The ripple effect of Hitachi’s investment is being felt across the North-East, for every one job created by them an additional 1.5 are created nearby.

“I’ll be working hard to help Hitachi win more orders, which will not only support train building jobs, but also thousands more in the regional supply chain.”

As well as creating 730 permanent jobs at the factory, Hitachi uses a British supply chain for train parts.

It has spent more than £628m in the past few years using 1,166 British suppliers who employ thousands of people.

This is part of a long-term investment in British manufacturing as a member of the Northern Powerhouse delivering the government’s industrial strategy.

Around 70 per cent of parts that are locally fitted for new intercity trains are sourced within 40 miles of the factory, while a further £20million was spent with regional supplies in 2017.

The firm expects almost 300 North-East built trains will be in operation by 2021.