19 members and friends had a factory visit to the Hitachi Rail assembly plant at Newton Aycliffe . The 3.5 acre building was opened in 2015 at a cost of £ 85 m. and produces 500 carriages and traction units per year . The shells are imported from Japan and the bogeys from Hitachi in Italy and over 70% of the supply chain is sourced locally which is great for the local economy . The factory is immaculately clean and noise free ( no ear protection worn ) and the target is to produce a carriage every 32 days . We were shown inside the carriages at various stages of production and were amazed at the maize of wiring that goes into the trains . The factory employs 750 permanent staff and 300 contract workers who all go through a rigorous training programme and it was good to note that they take on apprentices in conjunction with the local college . The current contracts they have are for Scotrail , Southernrail and West and East Coast main lines . Our members were most impressed with the size of the operation and we wished them all the best for future contracts .