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One of the most impressive and successful installations of metal roof and wall cladding of 2015 was the new Hitachi Rail Europe manufacturing facility.  Nearly 900 new railway carriages will be made in a brand new factory constructed at Merchant Park, Newton Aycliffe.

In an order placed by the Department of Transport for its Intercity Express programme, 112 of the 122 Class 800/801 train sets (totalling 866 train carriages) will be built at the site, with an ongoing maintenance programme for the next 27.5 years.  The first trains will enter revenue-earning service on the Great Western Main Line in 2017 and on the East Coast Main Line a year later.

Representing an £82m investment, the facility for Hitachi Rail Europe is creating some 730 jobs in the production of high-speed, commuter and metro trains. The site will also be home to a research & development facility and 1.1km of over-head electrified test track. 

Hitachi Rail Europe is also contracted as the supplier of trains to Abellio’s ScotRail programme where the majority of the AT200 commuter trains (46 three-car trains and 24 four-car trains) will also be built at the new facility in County Durham. Further new generation trains are also destined for service across Europe. 

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Project details

Main contractor Shepherd Construction was awarded the project for the 31.5 acre site which holds a special significance in the history of passenger rail, with the track adjoining the site being the one that was used by Robert Stephenson and Company to run Locomotion No. 1, the first steam locomotive to carry passengers on a public line in 1825. 

In addition to the 44,000m2 main building and test track, the construction phase involved the relocation of 370,000m2 of sub soil and natural rock, which stayed within the site. Products used in this construction included vast areas of steel roof and wall cladding, as well as a 25kVa power supply, a total of 2000t of steel (comprising 77,700 components) and 3772 Trina solar modules which will generate a targeted 1MW of electricity. 

The choice of 9,800m2 of Euroclad’s Elite 51 wall system and 38,600m2 of Euroclad’s Elite 1 roofing, reinforces the project’s environmental detailing with both systems having been subject to a full cradle to cradle lifecycle analysis.  The profiled steel sheets were manufactured to order at Euroclad’s Cardiff factory and delivered to site along with all other components of the Elite roof and wall systems. 


Location Newton Aycliffe
Architect Jeffery Associates
Installer Northern Cladding
System Profile Roof & Walls
Material Colorcoat HPS200 Ultra®
Colours Goosewing Grey

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