Hitachi’s Ashford depot hosts influential MP Stephen Hammond, to show off UK rail supply chain

25 October 2018

Today, Stephen Hammond MP, former Transport Minister and Member of the Treasury Select Committee, had a hands-on day at Hitachi Rail’s Ashford depot, as part of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) Rail Fellowship Programme.


Photo: Stephen Hammond with the Hitachi Ashford Maintenance Team

Stephen Hammond spent the day learning the nuts and bolts of maintaining the high-speed Javelin trains. This is part of an exciting campaign - the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme - which is showcasing the work of the UK rail supply chain by allowing Parliamentarians and influencers to gain hands-on experience in the industry.

Mr Hammond had the opportunity to work at Hitachi’s state of the art train maintenance centre in Ashford, which is home to iconic Javelin fleet. As well as meeting workers and apprentices on site, Mr Hammond also got onto the site floor to help carry out train maintenance tasks himself, experiencing first-hand the work that goes into making the Javelin fleet consistently receive passenger satisfaction ratings over 90%.

Maintenance is a vital part of the UK rail supply chain, with the rail network contributing over £36 billion GVA to UK economy. Since the £60 million Ashford depot was opened, Hitachi has spent millions with local suppliers and created 128 long-term jobs and 12 apprenticeships. Meanwhile the reliability, speed and improved connectivity the fleet provides has given the Kent tourism economy a £1bn boost since their introduction.

As a former Conservative Transport Minister, Hammond is a great advocate for UK rail and will be a valuable member of the RIA Rail Fellowship, Class of 2018. He also currently serves as a member of the influential Treasury Select Committee and is Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Infrastructure.

A number of MPs have now taken part in the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme, as decision makers line up to pledge their support for the UK rail industry.

Stephen Hammond MP said: “Having the opportunity to work alongside Hitachi staff on the front line of their Ashford Depot was a really insightful and valuable experience. The UK’s rail sector is a prized asset and I have the utmost gratitude for the workers on the ground who make the sector what it is. I would like to thank everyone involved for giving me the chance to take part in the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme and am proud to have become a RIA Rail Fellow.”

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association said: “I would like to thank Stephen Hammond MP for spending the day at Hitachi and becoming our latest RIA Rail Fellow. It was great for him to see the jobs, exports and growth that the rail sector delivers each day, as exemplified by the Ashford site.”

Mark Hughes, Ashford Depot Manager said: “The Javelin fleet is one the UK’s most reliable services due to the dedicated team at Ashford. Therefore it was a great privilege to have a former Transport Minister, Stephen Hammond MP, experience this hard work, expertise and camaraderie first hand.

The RIA Rail Fellowship Programme is being run by the Railway Industry Association (RIA), the representative body for UK-based suppliers to the UK and world-wide railways. RIA has more than 200 member companies and works to promote the importance of the rail system to UK plc, to help export UK expertise around the globe, and to share best practice and innovation across the industry.

The rail sector is of crucial importance to the UK economy, contributing £36 billion in economic growth and £11 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 600,000 people—more than the workforce of Birmingham. It is also a growing industry with the number of rail journeys expected to double over the next 25 years and freight set to grow significantly too.

Notes to Editors 

  1.  For all media enquiries please contact: deborah.james@wearefield.co.uk or telephone: + 44 20 7096 7727.
  2. About the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme: The RIA Rail Fellowship Programme is an exciting opportunity for UK parliamentarians and commentators to gain an insight into the valuable work of the UK rail supply chain at a RIA Member location. “Fellows” spend a day ‘on location’ with a RIA Member whose work is relevant to their role or constituency and experience opportunities reflecting the great diversity of technical disciplines within the rail sector. Candidates are gaining an invaluable understanding of a diverse workforce that together contribute £36 billion in economic growth and £11 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 600,000 people.  The RIA Rail Fellowship Class of 2018 will be awarded at the annual RIA Parliamentary reception on Tuesday 27th November 2018.
  3. About the Railway Industry Association (RIA): The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the trade association for UK-based suppliers to the UK and world-wide railways. It has some 200 companies in membership, in a growing industry with the number of rail journeys expected to double over the next 25 years and freight set to grow significantly too. RIA’s membership is active across the whole of railway supply, covering a diverse range of products and services and including both multi-national companies and SMEs (60% by number). RIA works to promote the importance of the rail system to UK plc, to help export UK expertise around the globe and to share best practice and innovation across the industry.
  4. About Hitachi Rail Europe (HRE): Hitachi Rail Europe (HRE) is a global transport specialist with over 100 years of experience building pioneering trains, offering quality maintenance and developing innovative new technology. As a leader in rail we’re improving transport for passengers, connecting communities and helping to boost the UK’s economy. Having delivered the hugely popular Javelin HS1 fleet in advance of the 2012 London Games, Hitachi is delivering major orders for new trains, with 281 due to be in service by 2021. The first wave of new trains is being made at our purpose-built factory in County Durham and entered passenger service in 2017 as part of the UK Government’s £5.7bn Intercity Express Programme. With a proud reputation for innovation, Hitachi is at the forefront of using new digital technology to enhance passenger experience and enrich Britain’s railway’s heritage. Hitachi rail is growing rapidly, employing over 2,000 people and soon to be operational at 15 locations across the UK. For more information about the company, please visit: www.Hitachirail-eu.com.

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