Prime Minister David Cameron and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe visited Hitachi Rail Europe’s North Pole depot on May 5, to inspect a new bi-mode Class 800 and speak to HRE apprentices.
Cameron and Abe saw at close quarters the innovative and high-quality maintenance procedures planned for the Intercity Express Programme fleet (IEP), which begins to enter traffic next year.
Staff explained what is required to keep the trains in action. The PMs were also able to inspect nine-car bi-mode 800101, complete in Virgin Trains East Coast livery with Azuma branding.
The event was the first time Abe had visited an HRE location in the UK, while Cameron officially opened the company’s £82 million Rail Vehicle Manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe last September (RAIL 783).
It was hosted by Hiroaki Nakanishi (Chairman of the Board, Representative Executive Officer of Hitachi Ltd), Alistair Dormer (Senior Vice President & Executive Officer of Hitachi Ltd), and Karen Boswell (Managing Director of HRE).
Boswell said: “The visit to our North Pole train maintenance centre by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister David Cameron is a very proud moment for Hitachi, highlighting the important role service delivery for our customers plays in our business alongside rolling stock innovation and manufacturing.’
Stakeholders from Agility Trains, Network Rail, Great Western Railway, Virgin Trains East Coast, Stagecoach and the Department for Transport all attended the event.
- For more on the Class 800s, read a special feature in RAIL 800, published on May 11.