Japanese industrial giant Hitachi has announced that it has signed a letter of understanding to use a rail site being developed in the south of Powys.

This morning (April 18) Hitachi confirmed it will be partnering with the Global Centre of Rail Excellence in south Powys

The centre is being built in the south of the county at the Nant Helen surface mine and Onllwyn coal washery at the head of the Dulais and Tawe valleys.


When it goes into operation in 2025 it will be "operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week" and will include "two electrified test loops, one a 6.9km high speed rolling stock track and a 4km track for heavy infrastructure testing" and, when opened, the Welsh government has said the £400 million site will be the UK’s first ever net zero railway.

Now Hitachi announced it has signed a "memorandum of understanding" to test rolling stock, digital solutions and battery technology at the Rail Centre and the news has been welcomed across the political spectrum.

County Times: Work on the new rail testing siteWork on the new rail testing site

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Mid & West Wales Senedd Member Jane Dodds said: “This is yet more welcome investment into our County that will provide a much-needed boost for the economy and jobs in the South of Powys.

“It is exciting to see the delivery of a world-class centre of rail innovation that is already attracting world-class companies."

Wales’ Economy Minister Vaughan Gething MS said the announcement was "great news for Wales" and demonstrates why the Welsh Government was right to invest in the project.