Latest Rail News


Hitachi and DfT finalise deal to build £2.7bn new ECML fleet

Financial close has been reached on the new fleet for the East Coast Main Line under the Intercity Express Programme (IEP).

Together with the financial close on the Great Western announced last summer, this means that 866 train cars in total will be provided and maintained for 27.5 years by Hitachi as part of the Agility Trains consortium.

Alistair Dormer, Hitachi Rail global CEO, said the announcement “signals a new phase” for the £5.7bn IEP, with the latest contract close worth £2.7bn. “With all finance raised, our teams across the UK and in Japan, jointly with Agility Trains, can now fully focus on delivering all aspects of this programme, which will bring major improvements for passengers across two of the busiest train routes in Britain. The construction of our train factory in County Durham is under way and we are looking forward to seeing all Class 800 series trains for the ECML being manufactured by our 730 staff in north east England.”

Toshiaki Higashihara, President & COO of Hitachi, Ltd added: “I am extremely pleased that a total of 866 Hitachi train cars will be running in the UK, which is the birthplace of railways. I would like to express my very sincere gratitude to all those involved, and particularly to the members of the Japanese and British governments who offered their strong support and invested great efforts in bringing this project to fruition.”

Hitachi says the trains’ interior design is at an “advanced stage” with final sign-off expected shortly. Three pre-series trains will be manufactured this year in Hitachi’s factory in Kasado, Japan, with arrival of the trains in the UK expected in the first half of 2015.

IEP suppliers resize 635332371546096000

The £82m Newton Aycliffe assembly factory is under construction, and should be operational in the middle of next year. The senior team to run the factory is being recruited, with the bulk of the workforce to be hired next year.

Hitachi Rail has also started buildings its new maintenance depot in Bristol at Stoke Gifford, is refurbishing the North Pole depot in west London and upgrading the maintenance facility in Swansea. Construction of a new depot in Doncaster will start shortly.

All work is on schedule and the 122 trains are expected to enter passenger service in 2017 on the GWML and in 2018 on the ECML.

The contract specifications are for the “provision into daily service of the following cleaned, serviced and maintained trains”:

  • 21x nine-car electric trains and 36x five-car bi-mode trains for GWML into passenger service each weekday (369 vehicles)
  • Provision of 12 x five-car electric trains, 10 x five-car bi-mode trains, 13 x nine-car bi-mode trains and 30 x nine-car electric trains for ECML into passenger service each weekday (497 vehicles)

The bi-mode trains are Class 800, while the pure electric trains are Class 801. The under-floor diesel generators can eventually be removed if and when electrification of the network allows it.

d resize 635332371342048000

The European Investment Bank joined a consortium of international banks to finance the deployment of the 65 new Super Express Trains for the ECML to replace the Intercity 125s and 225s.

The EIB’s vice president Jonathan Taylor said: “Replacing existing Intercity trains on the ECML will benefit passengers, increase capacity on the route and significantly cut journey times on one of Britain’s busiest intercity routes.”

The other funders are Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU), Development Bank of Japan (DBJ), HSBC, Lloyds, Mitsubishi Trust, Mizuho, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), Société Générale and Crédit Agricole.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We are building a world class rail system and the IEP is a key part of that. These new trains will transform rail travel between many of the great towns and cities of England and Scotland. This deal is further proof that our long-term economic plans are on track, creating jobs and breathing new life into the UK’s train-building industry.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment



rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Delays to Crossrail could ‘push HS2 off track’

16/10/2018Delays to Crossrail could ‘push HS2 off track’

Delays and cost overruns on the Crossrail project could have a significant impact on HS2, according to the Construction Products Association (CPA... more >
HS2 Phase 2 boss defends 12-month bill delay: ‘We actually proposed this ourselves’

16/10/2018HS2 Phase 2 boss defends 12-month bill delay: ‘We actually proposed this ourselves’

The outgoing boss of HS2 Phase 2b has defended the one-year setback in introducing legislation to Parliament, arguing that the move was “es... more >
Britain’s worst railway stations for delays and cancellations revealed

16/10/2018Britain’s worst railway stations for delays and cancellations revealed

The worst railway stations in the UK for late trains and cancellations have been revealed, with ten of the busiest seeing over half of all servic... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News


Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

29/08/2018Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

RTM’s Jack Donnelly sat down with one of the leading minds behind Network Rail’s most advanced and innovative rail maintenance techno... more >
Transforming travel in the north west

06/02/2018Transforming travel in the north west

RTM’s Josh Mines talks to Robin Davis, head of new trains at TransPennine Express (TPE), about the huge rolling stock change journey the co... more >
Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

23/01/2018Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

RTM’s Josh Mines catches up with Mark Somers, project director for Thameslink, on how the final stages of the programme are progressing and... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

18/09/2018The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

RTM's Jack Donnelly assesses what the Transport Committee's latest report on the VTEC franchise means for the industry as a whole “Eve... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

18/09/2018Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) will be transformational for the north – it will change the way people live, work, and play. It will rebalan... more >
Innovation through people and technology

18/09/2018Innovation through people and technology

Ian Prosser, HM chief inspector of railways and director of railway safety at the ORR, picks out the key industry challenges to focus on based on... more >
Why we all must mind the gap

18/09/2018Why we all must mind the gap

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR), explains how we can all ensure the UK’s next generation... more >
3D printing: from virtual to real

11/09/20183D printing: from virtual to real

Like so many other technological advancements, 3D printing has moved from being the stuff of science fiction, through niche industrial applicatio... more >