The deal has been secured by Agility Trains, the Hitachi-led consortium in which infrastructure investor John Laing has a 30 per cent stake.
A total of 270 carriages, which are due to be introduced in 2019, will be built by Hitachi Rail Europe at its new purpose-built factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
The deal is part of the UK government’s £5.8bn Intercity Express Programme (IEP) and is aimed at cutting journey times between London, Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh by up to 18 minutes.
UK transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This new order for class 800 series trains is part of the government’s commitment to invest in our nation’s infrastructure.”
Hitachi Rail Europe chief executive Alistair Dormer added: “This order is a tremendous boost for Hitachi Rail Europe’s new factory with its 730 future employees in County Durham and for the British supply chain.
“This order extends firm orders at the factory until the end of the decade with significant capacity remaining available for further UK and export contracts actively being pursued.”