HOPES that a multi-national company would set up a manufacturing plant for trains in Selby district have been dashed.

The former Gascoigne Wood colliery site had been on a shortlist drawn up by Japanese company Hitachi for a manufacturing plant for a fleet of new Super Express trains for the Great Western and East Coast main lines. These will replace existing high speed trains that are 20 to 30 years old.

The news had brought hope that 200 workers would be employed initially, with a further 300 jobs being created in the future.

But Hitachi has now confirmed they are no longer looking at Gascoigne Wood for the plant.

A spokeswoman said that after the initial shortlist had been drawn up, other potential sites were flagged up to the company.

She said that eventually these proved to be more appropriate.

She added: “We needed to fulfil a certain number of criteria.

“Once we announced an initial shortlist we got a lot more offers from various areas around the country and unfortunately Gascoigne Wood is no longer on our shortlist.

“We were looking at things like higher than normal electrical power availability, good road access, low planning risk, existing rail connections and appropriate site layout and we found sites that were better than Gascoigne Wood.”

No decision has yet been made on where the manufacturing plant will now now be based.

Nigel Adams, Selby and Ainsty MP, said the decision was terrible news for the area.

He said: “It’s very disappointing that Hitachi have ruled out Gascoigne Wood as a potential site. Given its rail capabilities it would have been, in my view, an ideal option for them.”