Phil Wilson has reiterated his long-held assertion that Aycliffe Business Park is very much on the up.
The Labour MP for Sedgefield was a proud guest at the opening ceremony of Hitachi Rail Europe’s new £82m train assembly factory last week.
During speeches, Mr Wilson was again credited by Hitachi supermo Alistair Dormer for the crucial role he played in helping to get the original Intercity Express Programme deal over the line – a contract which signalled Hitachi’s arrival in Aycliffe.
The opening ceremony was the culmination of months and years of hard work.
And Mr Wilson told Aycliffe Today: “It’s a dream come true.
“I remember when this was an empty field. This goes back to 2008-2009, when Hitachi first came to see me and said they wanted to build their factory here.
“After the election there were a lot of cutbacks and we had to campaign for this. We rallied businesses, Durham County Council, One North East as it was then, and we put a campaign together to convince the government of the economic case.
“We’ve now got this iconic building, building iconic trains in a iconic area, bringing train building full circle, back to where George Stephenson assembled Locomotion Number One at Heighington Crossing just 500 yards from here 190 years ago.
“Part of the Locomotion pub is the original ticket office and waiting room, so it’s probably the oldest ticket office and waiting room in the world!
“To think it has come full circle, to this day where they’ll be building the most sophisticated trains for the 21st Century, right here in Newton Aycliffe is fantastic.
“It’s great and I’m really proud of what has been achieved – a lot of work by a lot of people – and it’s a very proud day for me as Sedgefield MP.
“We’ve also got the building of the UTC starting soon, where we’ll be training the future engineers and giving local young people the skills to come and work here and at other companies.
“Because it’s not just about Hitachi. We have Gestamp Tallent, 3M, PWS, Ebac and lots of others doing fantastic work.
“It’s just another sign that Aycliffe Business Park is going really places.”