Spanish rolling stock manufacturer CAF will open a train production plant in South Wales next year, the company has announced.
Around 300 jobs will be created at the site near Newport when it opens in the autumn.
Previously, the company has supplied rolling stock to UK companies – the likes of Midland Metro and Edinburgh Trams – from its factories in Spain.
The new £30 million facility will be more than 46,000 square metres in size and is being designed so that CAF can build diesel multiple units, electric multiple units, trams and high-speed trains.
It is situated in the Celtic Business Park – a 100-acre industrial development on the site of the Llanwern steelworks. CAF said it looked at more than 100 locations across the UK and picked Celtic Business Park because of its links to roads, rail and ports, as well as the availability of local engineering skills.
The opening has been supported by a grant from the Welsh Government’s Inward Investment Programme.
The number of employees at the factory is expected to reach 300 by 2019.
CAF currently has contracts to build around 300 trains and coaches for the UK market. The company said it is now targeting projects with Transport for London, HS2, Wales, Borders, West Midlands and South Eastern franchises.
CAF’s UK director Richard Garner said: “The factory will have the flexibility to allow us to respond to the exacting demands of both existing and new customers by providing the most complete offering of any rolling stock provider operating in the UK.
“The establishment of this facility will serve CAF’s long-term aspirations to be a major player in the UK market for many years to come.
“CAF is responding to demands made by its customers who are asking for British trains, manufactured by British workers using British-based suppliers.”
The First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones added: “Today’s announcement is a major coup for Wales and a big vote of confidence in Wales’ manufacturing industry. We are, once again, competing and beating others on the world stage to secure significant investment to Wales.
“This £30 million investment is a major economic boost that we hope will kick-start the growth of our rail sector and create hundreds of highly skilled, very well paid jobs.”