Hitachi Rail back Doncaster to become the new home of Great British Railways

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A leading rail infrastructure company has thrown its weight behind Doncaster to become the new home of Great British Railways.

Hitachi Rail bosses said choosing Doncaster would be ‘the right decision for the rail industry’ and would lead to the ‘greatest economic benefits, both for the region and for the nation’.

Hitachi already has strong links in Doncaster, having built a brand new £70 million depot in the city to maintain its Azuma fleet in 2014, with staff formally moving into the site in early 2017.

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They also cite the economic drive of their factory in Newton Aycliffe in County Durham which has boosted the local economy to the tune of over £500 million.

Jim Brewin, UK Country Lead at Hitachi RailJim Brewin, UK Country Lead at Hitachi Rail
Jim Brewin, UK Country Lead at Hitachi Rail

They said the manufacturing facilities in the North East have an economic value of £413.7m, for the area, including almost £140m of direct economic impacts in salaries and profits, according to independent research from the consultancy STEER.

Doncaster is up against Birmingham, Derby, Crewe, York and Newcastle to become the new headquarters of GBR.

GBR is a new public body which will run and plan the rail network. Its establishment was announced as part of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, published in May 2021. The public body will own the rail infrastructure, procure passenger services and set most fares and timetables.

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Doncasters bid has the backing across South Yorkshire councils, the region’s mayor and the entire business community through the three chambers of commerce.

Jim Brewin, UK Country Lead at Hitachi Rail, said: “Bringing Great British Railways to Doncaster would similarly boost the local region, which already has deep expertise in rail manufacturing but has suffered from the effects of deindustrialisation.

“To unlock the opportunities of Great British Railways, close co-operation with manufacturers will be vital.

“Our operations at the Doncaster depot have created jobs for the local area, with 300 people currently employed there, and will result in Hitachi Rail spending over £700 million in the UK supply chain.

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“Iconic UK fleets are maintained at the Doncaster Depot, including 65 trains for LNER and 19 trains for Transpennine Express – recently ranked first in the UK fleet reliability table.

“As the Government continues to press forward with its ambitious levelling-up strategy, partially predicated on improving rail links across the country as well as providing employment opportunities, Hitachi Rail is firmly committed to continued investment in the economy and the people of the North and Yorkshire.

“I am very happy to express my support for Doncaster in their bid to become the home of Great British Railways, and know we can work together with GBR to deliver huge economic benefits for the local community, the UK’s rail network, and passengers up and down the country.”