Latest Rail News

06.12.19

£350m contract for Hitachi Rail to build new Avanti West Coast trains

Hitachi Rail awarded a contract worth more than £350m by First Trenitalia, whose new Avanti West Coast rail service starts on the 8th of December, to maintain and prove 23 new intercity trains.

The 135 new carriages will bring additional capacity to services along the West Coast Main Line and North Wales and will start operating in 2022. The new state of the art trains will be a mix of ten seven-carriage electric trains and 13 five-carriage bi-mode trains, with the ability to switch seamlessly between electric and diesel power.

The electric train will operate between London, Liverpool and the West Midlands while the bi-mode version will service the London to North Wales route.

They will be part of the fleet operated by the new intercity operator, to be known as Avanti West Coast, that begins operation on Sunday 8th December.

These are fast-accelerating 125mph trains which draw from their Japanese bullet train heritage. As a result of their modern design, passengers will enjoy a quieter journey compared to the diesel-only trains they will replace.

The new trains will have efficient free Wi-Fi, at-seat wireless inductive charging for electronic devices, plug sockets and USB slots; a brand-new catering offer and a real-time passenger information system that can advise customers of connecting rail services.  

FirstGroup is introducing new rolling stock to improve our customers’ journeys across all its train companies – Great Western Railway, Hull Trains, South Western Railway and TransPennie Express. Together with today’s announcement, this represents an investment of £1.8bn in more than 1,000 vehicles. By 2020, 90% of First Rail customers will be travelling on a train less than five years old.

Managing Director at First Rail, Steve Montogomery said: “We look forward to beginning our Avanti West Coast services on Sunday 8 December, and these new trains will help us really improve travel for passengers with more services, more seats, a better journey experience, enhanced catering and added comfort.”

Managing Director at Trenitalia UK, Ernesto Sicilia added: “We are pleased to announce this new fleet which highlights our commitment to innovation and desire to constantly improve our services. We are delighted to provide more efficient and modern trains which are sustainable and environmentally friendly, reducing CO2 emissions by 61%, including new comfortable seats for an improved customer experience.”

Image: Hitachi Rail's new intercity trains for Avanti West Coast, shown at Birmingham New Street Station

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