Hitachi Ltd. announced July 25 it has won a contract to provide train cars for an intercity high-speed railway project in Britain.
The order is worth 4.5 billion pounds (550 billion yen or $6.98 billion), the largest railway export for a Japanese company.
Hitachi will be in charge of constructing and maintaining 596 train cars for around 1,000 kilometers of rail links between London and other major cities.
The company will build a factory in Britain to produce the cars, which will be able to reach top speeds of 200 kph. Hitachi plans to complete the initial order by 2018, and says it could receive an order for 500 additional cars.
Hitachi will be responsible for maintenance work for 27 1/2 years.
This is the first time Hitachi will provide rail cars in Britain since 2009.
"This deal is important for Japan's efforts to export a set of infrastructure facilities,” industry minister Yukio Edano said.
The deal reflects recent joint efforts from the government and private sector to increase social infrastructure exports.
Hitachi obtained preferential negotiation rights for the latest deal from the British transport department in February 2009, with an order for 1,400 vehicles planned. However, the proposal was shelved due to a change of government in Britain.
Negotiations were resumed in March last year, with the Japanese government playing an important role in securing the deal. It promoted Hitachi trains at a summit meeting, and the government-affiliated Japan Bank for International Cooperation has agreed to provide funds to Hitachi for the project.
Trains are a mainstay of Japan’s infrastructure exports, along with electric power plants and water and sewage systems. Japanese companies are aiming to win orders for projects in India, the U.S. state of California and elsewhere, but are facing tough competition.
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