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British train builders start work on LNER’s Azuma at Hitachi’s North East factory

Press Release   •   Aug 08, 2018 12:01 BST

  • Hitachi’s train factory in the North East begins building new fleet for the East Coast main line
  • LNER’s Azuma fleet to start carrying passengers later this year

Passengers are a step closer to experiencing new trains as work steps up on Azuma.

The new fleet for the East Coast main line is being built at Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe factory in County Durham. The factory, home to 730 permanent employees and has recently seen 50 apprentices graduate.

This milestone for Newton Aycliffe follows Azuma trains built in Japan testing on the route.

Azuma arriving this year

Azuma is due to begin carrying passengers later this year along the East Coast main line, connecting London and Yorkshire, and from 2019 running in Scotland.

Hitachi has designed the trains using their Japanese bullet train technology, with the front of the train using a sleek aerodynamic design. With much faster acceleration passengers can expect their journey times to be cut once the fleet is fully introduced. The name Azuma means “east” in Japanese, an acknowledgement of Hitachi’s roots and Japan’s advanced railways.

David Horne, Managing Director of LNER explains: 

We’re delighted that manufacturing has now commenced on Azuma in County Durham. Our customers can expect a fleet of high-tech, modern trains that will deliver more seats and space, as well as faster journeys. Azuma will play a key role in revolutionising travel on the east coast mainline, delivering first-class service as well as extra services for Bradford, Lincoln, Harrogate and Edinburgh"

Karen Boswell , Managing Director of Hitachi Rail Europe said:

“Newton Aycliffe continues to go from strength to strength, now building three separate fleets to serve passengers across the country.

“Our pioneering Azuma trains, inspired by Japanese bullet trains, will transform journeys on the East Coast main line. By building them at Newton Aycliffe, we are supporting thousands of jobs with a strong British supplier base” 

About Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd.

Hitachi Rail Europe (HRE) is a global transport specialist with over 100 years of experience building pioneering trains, offering quality maintenance and developing innovative new technology. As a leader in rail we’re improving transport for passengers, connecting communities and helping to boost the UK’s economy.

Having delivered the hugely popular Javelin HS1 fleet in advance of the 2012 London Games, Hitachi is delivering major orders for new trains, with 281 due to be in service by 2021. The first wave of new trains is being made at our purpose-built factory in County Durham and entered passenger service in 2017 as part of the UK Government’s £5.7bn Intercity Express Programme. With a proud reputation for innovation, Hitachi is at the forefront of using new digital technology to enhance passenger experience and enrich Britain’s railway’s heritage. Hitachi rail is growing rapidly, employing over 2,000 people and soon to be operational at 15 locations across the UK.

For more information about the company, please visit: www.Hitachirail-eu.com .

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