Transport bosses have denied an elected mayor’s claim that a £500m contract to build new trains has been awarded to a Spanish firm ahead of a British plant 30 miles down the road.
Ben Houchen called for a rethink after the Hitachi Rail Newton Aycliffe plant in County Durham apparently failed to land the major deal to design, build and maintain new trains for the Tyne and Wear Metro system.
But the rail operator Nexus insists no decision has been made between Hitachi, Swiss firm Stadler and the Spaniards CAF.
A spokesperson said the choice will be finalised over the coming weeks and it will be announced in January.
Mr Houchen said: “Because of incompetence by the Tyne and Wear councils, the new Nexus trains will be built by a foreign company, rather than one just down the road.
“We must stop this madness.”
Mr Houchen did acknowledge that the deal had not been officially announced, so there is still time to review the decision.
Mr Houchen added: “I’m calling on the Tyne and Wear councils to pause on the awarding of this contract and to review this perverse decision, and I implore other local leaders and MPs to back this call.
“I’ve always done all I can to award local businesses contracts that are within my control. It is right that we put local people first.
Full story on Ben Houchen’s claims here.
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