Two northern engineering powerhouses have formed a partnership to bid for a £500m contract to build new trains and a depot for the Tyne and Wear Metro.
From 2022, the existing metro fleet will be replaced with brand new high technology trains and maintained at a newly-constructed site at Gosforth, Newcastle.
Hitachi and Spencer Group will harness their footprint in the North for the bid.
Hitachi has invested over £100m in its train factory in Newton Aycliffe supporting thousands of jobs in the North East.
As well as creating over 700 permanent jobs at the factory, Hitachi uses a British supply chain for train parts.
The train builder has spent over £628m with UK suppliers, with 70% of parts fitted sourced from within 40 miles of the factory.
Engineering specialist Spencer Group employs 300 people in the North, including at its headquarters in Hull.
The two firms have teamed up previously, when Spencer Group successfully upgraded existing East Coast main line rail depots ready for Hitachi’s new intercity trains.
Hitachi is building the pioneering new intercity trains which will soon connect Newcastle to London, Scotland, Manchester and Liverpool.
Spencer Group has delivered over £85m of projects within the North East, which has included extensive work at Heaton Depot to upgrade the facility for the arrival of Hitachi’s new intercity trains as part of the Intercity Express Programme, as well as an industry-leading biomass handling facility at the Port of Tyne, which created over 200 construction jobs for the region.
Ross Nagle, chief operating officer for manufacturing at Hitachi, said: “Our train building team in the North East is delivering truly world class trains already carrying millions of passengers around the country.
“We are now working hard to secure more orders, so our investment in the North East economy will continue to be felt across the region and with our local suppliers.”
Spencer Group managing director Gary Thornton said: “Our partnership with Hitachi to bid for the contract with Tyne and Wear Metro builds on our successful relationship delivering major rail projects.
“Together we offer a compelling proposition of complementary engineering expertise that will deliver unrivalled benefits to the client and value to the economy of the North.”