Hitachi Secures $4.5 Billion to Fund London-Scotland Expresses

Hitachi Ltd. said it secured 2.7 billion pounds ($4.5 billion) from international institutions to finance its contract to build 65 high-speed trains for use on Britain’s East Coast rail line between London and Scotland.

Lenders including Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, HSBC Holdings Plc, Lloyds Banking Group Plc and the European Investment Bank agreed to provide funds, allowing Hitachi to reach financial close with the U.K. government, company spokeswoman Daniela Karthaus said.

Today’s deal secures the last tranche of funding for the 5.7 billion-pound Intercity Express Program to replace diesel and electric trains built as early as 1976 on two of Britain’s busiest long-distance rail arteries. Tokyo-based Hitachi reached financial close in 2012 on financing for 57 IEP trainsets to be deployed on the Great Western line.

“These new trains will transform rail travel between many of the great towns and cities of England and Scotland,” U.K. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said in a statement.

The Hitachi Class 800 models manufactured at a new plant in northern England will offer 19 percent more seats and trim 15 minutes from journey times to the north, the government said.

IEP stock will enter traffic on the London Kings Cross-Edinburgh East Coast line in 2018, a year after its debut on the route from London Paddington to Wales and the west of England.

Production of a total of 122 trains comprising 866 railcars will create 730 local jobs, the government says, with Hitachi also building or refurbishing maintenance depots for the lines.

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