Hitachi Rail Europe has reached the major milestone of employing 1,000 people across the UK.
The achievement coincides with the one year anniversary since Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe facility was opened by the then Prime Minister David Cameron, marking the return of train building to its UK birthplace in the north east of England.
Hitachi’s 1,000th employee, Emma Dixon, recently joined Newton Aycliffe’s manufacturing team, where she is helping to build new trains for the Department of Transport’s Intercity Express Programme (IEP), commuter trains for Abellio ScotRail (ASR) and, later, a new Inter City fleet for Transpennine Express.
Emma, from Spennymoor, has most recently been working in retail, but has prior manufacturing experience in electricals.
Emma’s arrival at Aycliffe comes ahead of a wave of further recruitment by Hitachi, which will take total staff at its County Durham manufacturing facility to over 900.
The 150 new skilled roles, including 50 apprentices, will provide the capacity to fulfil new orders the company has won since the facility opened a year ago.
Emma said: “I’m really excited to be joining Hitachi, and it’s a great opportunity for me.
“I’m thrilled to be the 1,000th employee and so far all of my new colleagues have been very supportive and friendly, which means I’m looking forward to a happy and rewarding career with Hitachi.”
HRE’s investment in jobs is not confined to the North East, as Hitachi has also built new train maintenance centres at Stoke Gifford (Bristol) and Doncaster, as well as modernising existing facilities in west London and Swansea.
These are in addition to Hitachi’s Ashford depot, which has been maintaining Hitachi-built high speed 1 ‘Javelin’ trains since 2009.
Driven by Hitachi’s success in winning new contracts for rolling stock and related multi-year agreements for train maintenance, service delivery is expected to grow at an equally fast pace over the next three years to over 900 employees.
This expansion means that Hitachi Rail’s total employees in the UK is projected to reach around 2,000 by the end of 2019, a rapid growth from the Hitachi Rail team that set up a first London office in 2006.
In addition to making high quality trains, Hitachi is bringing its innovative approach to modernising technology on the railway.
In partnership with Network Rail it is currently delivering a new digital Traffic Management System for the Thameslink route, which runs through central London.
Hitachi’s long-term commitment to engineering and skills across the UK has also seen it make a substantial investment in the new South Durham UTC (University Technical College), which opened its doors to students on September 8.
This partnership is consistent with the company’s ethos of offering a long-term social return and commitment to its local communities.
Hitachi managing director Karen Boswell said: “The appointment of our 1,000th employee underlines the big plans Hitachi Rail Europe has to match the very largest players by winning new work in a competitive rail market.
“We’ve created a fantastic foothold in the market working with the UK rail industry’s largest rolling stock customers and operators, and together are delivering some of the most important contracts in rail history.
“Over the next three years, with state-of-the-art manufacturing and service delivery facilities up and down the country, we’ll meet the demands for faster trains and extra capacity and help the industry to deliver the biggest rail modernisation in over 100 years.
“To achieve our plan HRE is continuing to build a talented team of people, like Emma, drawn from a diverse range of careers and backgrounds who are working together to create an exciting and sustainable future. Our 1,000th UK employee is a significant milestone, and we have clear goals and a strategy to grow our business and double our workforce by the end of 2019.”