Finley’s land prestigious Hitachi contract

We’ve been awarded a multi-million pound deal to construct Hitachi Rail Europe’s train-building factory in County Durham.

Shepherd Construction, Darlington Office, the main contractor for the project, has given us the task of constructing the steel frame of the main factory on the 42,700sqm site at Aycliffe Business Park.

We’ve also been handed a secondary steelwork package in a huge contract involving a total of 2,000 tonnes of steel.

The factory, which will include a research and development centre, is expected to take about 20 months to complete, and will support more than 200 jobs in its construction.

It will then employ 730 people once open by the end of summer 2015, and it’s estimated thousands more in the supply chain.

Neil Matthias, Shepherd’s project manager for the Hitachi factory, says the deal is another example of how the firm is committed to using local companies after appointing Rushyford-based Hall Construction to carry out the groundworks.

Mr Matthias said: “I am pleased to announce we have appointed Finley Structures for the design, manufacture and installation of the steel frame together with secondary steel elements within the building.

“This is great news for the project and for the scheme, and particular John Finley who has been close to the project for a number of years and has worked alongside Shepherd for a number of years within the industry.

“We know Finley Structures will give 100% commitment to the project and look forward to getting started.”

Finley Structures has worked with Shepherd Construction on a 1,000-tonne project at Drax Power Station in Selby, North Yorkshire, and the 950-tonne National Renewable Energy Centre (NAREC) in Blyth, as well as a 500-tonne contract at Ercall Wood Technology College in Telford and a 400-tonne job at Daventry Academy, Northampton.

Mr Finley said: “It goes without saying we’re proud and absolutely delighted to be given this contract.

“We have a long-standing relationship with Shepherd Construction and we’ve worked with them on a number of major contracts over the last few years, so we’re looking forward to working on what is another flagship project.

“Hitachi Rail Europe and Merchant Place Developments have said from the very beginning that they will use local suppliers and contractors as much as possible, and clearly this deal means they’re sticking to their word.

“I would especially like to thank Geoff Hunton from Merchant. Geoff can be credited largely for helping to bring Hitachi to Newton Aycliffe.”

In May last year (2013), Hitachi Rail Europe signed a deal with Newcastle-based developers Merchant Place Developments to construct and fit out the train-building factory, and then in November Shepherd Construction was revealed as the main contractor for the 20-month project during a high-profile ceremony attended by Business Secretary Vince Cable.

Darren Cumner, Manufacturing Plant Manager at Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “The appointment of Finley Structures for the steelworks contract is excellent news for the region.

“For Hitachi, it is most important that our rail vehicle manufacturing facility is built to the highest quality standards and we are delighted that with Finley Structures, a local company, has been able to answer to these requirements and to secure the contract.

“From the day we decided on Newton Aycliffe as the home for our new train factory, we have time and again seen direct confirmation that companies in the region are more than capable of fulfilling our high quality and reliability standards.”

Mr Hunton added: “Merchant Place Developments fully endorse the statement made by Hitachi and are delighted with the appointment of a local North East based company for the steelworks contract which has fully justified our belief in the North East when promoting the benefits of the Newton Aycliffe site.”

The Labour MP for Sedgefield, Phil Wilson, played a big part in paving the way for Hitachi’s successful bid for the £5.8 billion Intercity Express Programme (IEP).

“This is fantastic news for the area and I’m delighted that more local jobs will be supported during the construction of the factory,” said Mr Wilson.

“When you have a company like Hitachi prepared to build an £82m facility here, it proves there is great faith in the area, and to see local companies all coming together to work on the project like this is just wonderful.”

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