LONDON, 1st OCTOBER 2009 –Hitachi Rail Europe tomorrow celebrates the second anniversary of the £60 million state-of-the-art Ashford Train Maintenance Centre.
The train maintenance centre has now taken delivery of all Class 395 trains destined for Southeastern’s high-speed rail service. The final train arrived in the UK on 17 August 2009, bringing the number of units housed in the depot to 29. Before being handed over, all Class 395 trains are commissioned and put through 4,000 miles of fault free running (FFR). To date, Southeasten has provisionally accepted 20 trains, of which 12 are in ‘preview service’ daily. The remaining nine units are on schedule to be accepted before the start of the full passenger service on 13th December 2009.
Over the past 12 months, staff at the centre have been delivering the Class 465 traction replacement programme. Since successfully handing back the first completed unit in March, modification of the full fleet is progressing to schedule with the final 97th train due to be returned in March 2010. To date, the Hitachi traction system is delivering over 640,000 MDBF, virtually eliminating traction failures on modified units.
Investing and developing its UK workforce is a priority for Hitachi Rail Group’s long term strategy in Europe. The depot now has a total of 98 staff, which means that the number of Hitachi staff has quadrupled since October 2008. Most of the new employees have been employed from the Ashford area and Hitachi has invested in intensive training for new employees. The company is also currently running four apprenticeship schemes and is looking to take on further apprentices in the course of next year.
Alistair Dormer, General Manager at Hitachi Group London said: “This has been a very busy year for Ashford depot. Southeastern’s decision to deliver a Class 395 ‘preview’ service some five months early is a ringing endorsement of the quality of the trains and the maintenance services provided at Ashford. The Class 465 traction replacement programme has been a stunning success to date with two modified units delivered each week, virtually eliminating traction failures in service. We still have much work to do, but we are on target to complete train deliveries on time and ramp up our maintenance services for full fleet introduction in December.”
Over the past year the depot has had nearly 4,000 visitors from the UK, Continental Europe and Asia, including many key stakeholders in the European train industry.
About Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd.
Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Europe, Ltd. and is headquartered in London, UK.
Hitachi Rail Europe is a total railway system supplier offering rolling stock, traction equipment, signalling, traffic management systems, and maintenance depots.
Hitachi draws on many years of experience as a leading supplier of high-speed trains such as the Shinkansen (bullet train) for the Japanese and international markets. In Europe, Hitachi Rail Europe’s first rolling stock contract was to deliver a fleet of 29 Class 395 trains, the first domestic high-speed train in the UK, which are maintained at Hitachi’s state of the art depot in Ashford, Kent. As part of the British Department for Transport’s Intercity Express Programme, Hitachi Rail Europe will replace the UK’s ageing fleet of Intercity trains, and will establish a new rolling stock manufacturing facility in the UK for this purpose. The trains will be maintained and services in a number of new maintenance
depots along the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line.
For more information about the company, please visit: www.Hitachirail-eu.com .