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New intercity train carries out first Edinburgh test journey

Press Release   •   Sep 07, 2017 13:39 BST

Test train at Edinburgh station
  • New intercity train makes inaugural journey to Scotland’s capital
  • Passengers to benefit next year from new East Coast main line fleet
  • Department for Transport investment in iconic route sees new trains and major infrastructure upgrades

A new intercity train bound for passengers next year reached a major test milestone today as it reached Edinburgh station for the first time.

Train manufacturer Hitachi carried out the test journey between Doncaster and Edinburgh Waverley station, where passers-by were able to catch a glimpse of the new train on platform 2.

The new fleet of trains for the East Coast main line is part of the government’s £5.7bn network-wide investment in transforming intercity rail travel across the UK.

New intercity trains for Scotland

A fleet of 65 new intercity trains, named Azuma by their operator Virgin Trains East Coast, will start to be introduced on iconic Scottish routes from 2018.

The Azuma is set to be one of the most advanced passenger trains on the UK rail network, able to accelerate faster than existing trains and providing more comfort and space inside. Virgin Trains are planning to cut journey times between Edinburgh and London by 22 minutes using Azuma, connecting capital cities in just 4 hours.

Hitachi is building the new fleet at its purpose built £82million facility in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, which now employs 1000 people.

The trains use Hitachi’s Japanese bullet train technology; ensuring passengers have smoother and more reliable journeys.

The Government’s investment in the East Coast main line has funded the trains as well as new depots to maintain them. Major infrastructure upgrades are also taking place to ensure the route is ready for modern trains

Andy Rogers, Programme Director at Hitachi Rail Europe, said:

“Passengers and enthusiasts in Scotland will be seeing plenty more of the new trains over the coming months as we ramp up testing activities. We are very pleased to see the new train reach Edinburgh and now look forward to planning test journeys further north.

“Our new UK built fleet for the East Coast main line will offer a step-change in passenger experience. From next year passengers will benefit from more seats and space, as well as greater use of on-board technology”

Rail Minister Paul Maynard said:

“This is a key milestone in the testing and introduction of the new fleet of state-of-the-art Intercity trains on the East Coast Main Line which will benefit passengers in both Scotland and England.

“This constitutes part of a £5.7bn investment by the government in the rail network, and it’s exciting for everyone involved because it means we are a step closer to creating more space, more comfort and more reliability for millions of passengers on the East Coast Main Line.

“Starting from the end of next year, passengers will able to make full use of 65 brand new trains, complete with 500 new carriages, up and down the East Coast line from London to Scotland.”

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 will enter 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 and we’ll soon by more than 2,000 strong, based at 15 locations across the UK.

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

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