The first of 19 Hitachi Rail Europe inter-city trains have been delivered to the UK before their 2019 introduction to the network, when they will connect cities between the North of England and Scotland, a route currently operated by TransPennine Express.
The deal with the Japanese company, which in 2014 moved its European train building to the UK that included an £80 million production facility in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, has been heralded as a boon for UK industry because more than 30 UK firms are being used to supply key components for the trains. One such business is Lucchini Unipart Rail, the Manchester-based business that will be supplying wheelsets that are already used across Hitachi fleets in Italy and Japan.
Powering the train will be Rolls Royce engines, hybrid units that will switch between electric and diesel power – Hitachi’s Nova 1 fleet light and aerodynamic technology – that will help cut harmful emission by up to 90%, according to Hitachi Rail Europe. The train builder said the train represented another important milestone for the regions where the train will operate.
TransPennine Express, the rail franchise due to run until at least 2023, announced late last year that production of the Japanese bullet train-inspired fleet had entered production – the first arrived by boat in Southampton ahead of planned testing later this summer. The fleet is financed by Angel Trains and will eventually run from Manchester and Liverpool to cities including Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh. The latest trains are based on the Class 800/801 trains that are have run on the Great Western Main Line in 2017, while similar trains will enter operation on the East Coast Main Line at the end of the year.
Offering details on their specification, Hitachi Rail Europe said the trains will provide 161 additional seats that will provide more legroom that existing fleets and additional luggage space. Each train will offer free Wi-Fi throughout the train in addition to an on-board entertainment system that enables passengers to stream films and TV shows.
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