Train carriage shells bound for Newton Aycliffe have arrived in the Port of Tyne after a 5,000 nautical mile journey over sea.
The port is working with Hitachi Rail Europe, shipping operator Höegh Autoliners and Nissan Shipping Agents (NSA UK) to unload train body shells at its Tyne facility.
The shells are arriving from Japan into the Port of Tyne before being unloaded and transported to Hitachi’s new £82m train-assembling factory on Aycliffe Business Park.
The first shipment of five left Kobe in Japan at the end of August on board the giant car carrier Höegh Tokyo.
Travelling around 5,000 nautical miles they arrived at the Port of Tyne approximately 38 days later in early October.
Once they were towed off the ship, the port began the carefully planned manoeuvre to lift one on to specialist distribution vehicles.
In the first of its kind a tandem lift, using two of the port’s mobile cranes simultaneously was undertaken and each body-shell measuring 26 metres long and weighing 28 tonnes (the equivalent weight of 14 average family cars) was delicately and precisely lifted into place onto road vehicles.
The port’s CEO Andrew Moffat said: “The Port of Tyne is extremely proud to play a part in Hitachi Rail Europe’s supply chain and work with our partners Höegh and NSA to carry out this specialist job for them safely and efficiently.”
Hitachi’s new factory, officially opened by Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne in September, will produce the rolling stock to support the Department for Transport’s InterCity Express Programme (IEP) and the Abellio Scotrail contract.
The Port of Tyne expects the next shipment of Hitachi body-shells in early November.