HS2

05.05.17

Hitachi gets to work on bodyshells for Virgin’s Azuma Class 800s

Hitachi has today started work on Virgin Trains’ new fleet of Azuma Class 800s that are due to enter service on the east coast in 2018.

Engineers at Hitachi’s factory in Kasado, Japan, have begun building the bodyshells ahead of trains being shipped to the UK for construction by a team of 900 employees at the company’s Newton Aycliffe facility in summer.

The 65-strong fleet of Azuma trains will provide passengers with an extra 12,200 seats, as well as quicker services and create new direct routes, such as between London and Middlesbrough.

virgin azuma 1

It will also increase the number of through services from London to destinations including Bradford, Harrogate and Lincoln.

David Horne, managing director of Virgin Trains on the east coast, said: “We are very excited to be moving closer to the day when our fantastic new train comes into service.

“The arrival of Azuma in 2018 will mark another milestone on our journey towards totally transforming travel for our customers, and the work happening now in Kasado and beginning in the summer at Newton Aycliffe are important steps on that journey.”

And Karen Boswell, managing director at Hitachi Rail Europe, commented that the new Azuma fleet would be a combination of Japanese design and British manufacturing.

“The trains are built using Japanese bullet train technology, world famous for its quality and reliability,” she added. “We are proud that our Newton Aycliffe team, based a short distance from the East Coast main line, will work on pioneering trains used by millions of passengers.”

virgin azuma 3

Today’s news also follows work beginning at Stevenage station to extend the platform to accommodate for the length of Virgin’s new additions.

And at the start of the year, Durham station was closed to get its own upgrade to allow for Virgin’s new Azuma rolling stock.

Last month, Virgin also announced that it would be joining forces with Stagecoach and SNCF to submit a bid for the HS2 West Coast Partnership route.

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Comments

Andrew Gwilt   05/05/2017 at 10:58

Is Hitachi also manufacturing the Class 802's for First Hull Trains and Transpennine Express aswell Great Western Railway are ordering the Class 802's. Or are Hitachi still manufacturing the Class 800's and Class 801's for Virgin Trains East Coast and Great Western Railway.

David   06/05/2017 at 19:34

Yes Andrew, the Class 802s are under construction at Hitachi's Pistoia factory, I believe the first unit has arrived on British shores.

Andrew Gwilt   06/05/2017 at 20:32

Well thats good. Thanks David.

Andrew JG   10/05/2017 at 06:09

Could VTEC operate the new King's Cross-Scarborough service at some point with using their brand new Class 800 and Class 801 Intercity Express Trains fleets as VTEC are planning to operate some brand new services such as Bradford, Lincoln and Harrogate to & from King's Cross. As well to Grimsby and Hartlepool in the future.

Andrew JG (Continued)   10/05/2017 at 06:14

Not to mention King's Cross-Middlesbrough and possibly King's Cross-Skegness. If that's what VTEC are planning to operate some brand new services once they have the Class 800's and Class 801's been delivered and to start passenger service on the East Coast Main Line.

Ryan   13/05/2017 at 22:16

Is there really a need to list every destination of each line connecting to the ECML? They *could* serve any number of destinations, however it depends entirely on the projected passenger numbers.

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