Latest Rail News

21.03.18

First Virgin Azuma trains arrive in UK after two-month journey from Japan

Two brand new Hitachi trains completed their two month journey from Japan yesterday, arriving at Teesport, Middlesborough.

The two five-car trains, which will form part of Virgin Trains’ new Azuma fleet, will be initially be used for training on-board crew and drivers.

It is hoped that the fleet will transform travel and improve the customer experience on the East Coast Main Line when it is introduced in December.

Comprising of 65 trains, the fleet will provide an additional 12,200 seats, as well as having the potential to enable faster journeys and support an increase in through services from London to Bradford, Harrogate and Lincoln.

Staff are preparing for hands-on experience of the new Azuma trains, with the two new arrivals being used to teach crew and drivers how to operate the trains.

Virgin has already started driver training using Azuma simulators at King’s Cross, Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh stations.

Manufacturer of the trains, Hitachi, now has five Azuma trains trade for testing. Its UK factory in Newton Aycliffe, Durham will begin building the trains in summer.

Aileen Jordan, Azuma director at Virgin Trains on the east coast, said: “We’re excited to have reached yet another milestone with the arrival of these two trains and with them, the opportunity for our drivers and onboard crews to use these for training ahead of Azuma coming into service from later this year.”

Hitachi Rail’s programme director, Andy Rogers, added: “We are proud to be building a fleet inspired by Japanese bullet-train technology here in the UK.

“Our comprehensive test programme is making great progress with the new trains performing very well on the East Coast main line.

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