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First photos emerge as Hitachi begins work on ‘game-changer’ TPE fleet

Hitachi has begun production on the fleet of new intercity trains that will connect stations between England and Scotland for TransPennine Express (TPE).

As per the deal signed last year, the manufacturer will produce 19 new five-carriage trains which are expected to enter service in 2019.

Production has now begun on two test trains in Japan due to be transferred to the UK next year.

TPE says the new stock is inspired by the Japanese bullet trains and, along with other new trains, will provide 13 million more seats a year than the current carriages.

The trains will be maintained at Hitachi’s newly built £80m depot in Doncaster, with investment in the new fleet and the depot coming alongside the Great North Rail Project.

From 2019 the fleet will connect major cities in the north of England and Scotland, running from Manchester and Liverpool across the Pennines to cities such as Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

All the new trains will be hybrids, able to run either a five or 10-carriage formation and capable of speeds up to 140mph in electric mode and 125mph in diesel mode.

Train with open nose cone

Berry Sas, projects director for Hitachi Rail Europe, who wrote for RTM last year, explained: “Millions of journeys along the popular TransPennine route will be transformed once these pioneering intercity trains are introduced into service.

“We have invested £80m in a state-of-the-art depot in Doncaster to ensure these new trains are running in top condition for each and every journey.”

TPE managing director Leo Goodwin added: “The construction of our third, brand new fleet of trains is tremendously exciting news for customers.

“Once in service in 2019, these will be some of the most advanced trains in the UK and coupled with the other new trains we are having built, will provide an additional 13 million seats a year.

“We are committed to supporting the northern economy and are pleased that the fleet, which will be maintained at locations across the north and in Scotland will be supporting 250 long-term jobs”

Welding work on train

David Hoggarth, director for Rail North, argued the new trains will be “game-changers” for the region.

“Fast, efficient travel on trains fit for purpose will open up rail to new users in the business and leisure sector and is one of the key components required for growing the Northern economy through enhanced connectivity,” he added.

“This is great news for the north and demonstrates that visionary franchise agreements can really deliver.”

TPE also signed a train deal with CAF at the same time last year as part of its franchise refresh. The first bodyshell was completed in March, while more images of the stock’s progress were released in September.

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Jetson   19/12/2017 at 12:41

Out of curiosity, would it be technically possible at some point in the future to remove the diesel part and make the train purely electric powered?

ICN   19/12/2017 at 12:47

I'm sure somebody in governmental high places must be doing very well with all the new trains from Hitachi. You would think that from reading the above blurb that they were most fantastic trains in the world! They're ok but nothing special compared with (say) the new ICE4 currently being delivered to the DBAG.

Jamesc   19/12/2017 at 13:28

Jetson, anything is possible with enough money. ICN, what is special about ICE4? same top speed, similar length per car, interior facilities and seat layout is decided by the customer/operator. Body cross section is dictated by the British obsession with keeping victorian bridges and tunnels.

AJ   19/12/2017 at 13:53

Will be one carriage short of a full set by the time they arrive, just like the 185s were too short.

SPT   19/12/2017 at 14:10

And the point of putting a pair of 5 car trains together with no end gangways to walkthrough between each set is...?

Jake   19/12/2017 at 14:35

1) Considering TPE have some of the worst overcrowding figures on the network; would it not have been worthwhile to order these as 6-carriage units? I fear they'll be overcrowded as soon as they enter service. 2) Bi-modes are all well and good, but they still don't solve the issue of heavy diesel-engines causing more wear and damage to the track, so if these run under all-wired routes like Liverpool/Manchester - Glasgow/Edinburgh, there will still be un-necessary damage being done. Or are these only destined to run on the cross-pennine non-electrified routes?

Manchester Mike   19/12/2017 at 14:35

@Jamesc "dictated by the British obsession with keeping Victorian bridges and tunnels" It's actually a case of not having tens of billions of pounds to upgrade bridges and enlarge tunnels all over the network.

Tom   19/12/2017 at 15:37

1. A 6 car 185 has a capacity of 154, but a 5 car 802 has a capacity of 342. 2. These trains will be used on the LIV - NCL route, but eventually extended to EDB.

Tom   19/12/2017 at 15:38

^The 6 car capacity is 2*154=308

Peterg   19/12/2017 at 15:45

Bit of a stretch to say it's inspired by the Japanese bullet train! The only thing it has in common is that it runs on the same gauge.

Andrew Gwilt   19/12/2017 at 15:47

Hull Trains are also ordering the Class 802’s to replace the Class 180’s to Grand Central.

Nonsuchmike   19/12/2017 at 16:00

Of course it would be better if they were all electric, but judging by recent performance, will the government release the money for sufficient electrification to take place across all of the northern network, not to mention the improving of grade needed? Our hope should be, now that the Halton curve upgrade has at least been started, that the line to Sheffield shall be drastically improved with at least one other southern & one other northern Pennine route - preferably from Colne - built/reinstated with steel on the ground before anybody worries about which fancy train/carriages are going to run over them.

Jimbo   19/12/2017 at 18:16

What is the fascination with the Japanese Bullet trains? The Series 0 trains were introduced in 1967 and finally retired in 2008. It is like saying the trains were inspired in the Blue Pullman! If you look at current Japanese Shinkansen trains, they look noting like the Bullet trains and some are rather ugly.

John Webster   19/12/2017 at 19:04

I like the speed predictions "140mph in electric mode....etc". The Class 91's on the East Coast were built to that spec but the track wasn't so not allowed to run faster than 125mph. Trans-Pennine routes will need millions spending on them to get anything like 100mph.

Lee   20/12/2017 at 07:53

'These trains will be used on the LIV - NCL route, but eventually extended to EDB.' Sorry Tom, I thought the DRS class 68's and new CAF-built coaching stock were to be used on the Liverpool - Newcastle and eventually Liverpool - Scarborough services. It is my understanding the Hitachi units are to replace the Class 350/4 'Desiro' EMU's on Manchester Airport - Glasgow/Edinburgh and introduced on the Liverpool - Scotland services, with the Class 350/4's going to London North Western.

SD   20/12/2017 at 08:48

Jetson - I think that was originally the plan but the Grayling axe swung and electrification of the Diggle route is now off the cards. Lee - The new CAF EMUs are replacing the 350/4s on the Scotland WCML route.

Andrew JG   20/12/2017 at 10:30

Great news so far. Hitachi are still manufacturing the Electric and Hybrid (Bi-Mode) IET’s in the UK, Italy and Japan. Aswell continuing on manufacturing the Class 385 “Commuter” EMU’s for Scotrail in which these new trains will soon enter service next year.

J, Leicester   20/12/2017 at 11:00

Further to John's point, practice & performance data has yet to clock an IEP on GW metals topping out at anything above 118mph on diesel power on the relatively flat racetrack that is the GWML, so claims of 125mph running on the sinuous TPE network are superfluous at best. Granted, the routes they'll be plying on diesel power will not be 125mph lines, but acceleration rates on diesel remain slower than the HSTs they are replacing on flat lines - a fresh comparison with 185s will be important to see if they really will represent an improvement in service, not least with the much-vaunted "digital railway" advances supposedly pre-empting a timetable frequency increase. Granted, comparing HSTs to 185s is like comparing a Chevrolet to a Micra, but the Siemens units do benefit from being far lighter, at least until they're packed full of sardine passengers. I'll be interested to see how their bloated weight and complex equipment copes with the more challenging gradients, power changes and more frequent stop-start acceleration that they'll face on a daily basis.

Tom   20/12/2017 at 17:36

Lee, the CAF EMU units are for the Scottish electric services from Manchester/Liverpool via the WCML. The Hitachi trains are Bi-mode, hence will operate in diesel on the Manchester to York part of the route, and electric on the EMCL and MCV-LIV.

Andrew JG   21/12/2017 at 01:48

It’s the Class 397 that CAF are manufacturing and there will be 12 of them that will replace the Class 350/4’s for TPE as WMT are having the 10 Class 350/4’s. When the Class 397’s will eventually enter service in Spring 2019.

Rail Fan Enthusiast Enthusiast   21/12/2017 at 12:49

Oh thanks for that info Andrew

Mark Hare   21/12/2017 at 14:22

SPT - if you can see a way of fitting connecting doors to this design of train so that you can walk through from one set to another then you're doing very well indeed.

Simon Eames1990   21/12/2017 at 23:48

All bi-mode trains should have their diesel replaced with batteries as battery technology is advancing.

AJG89   22/12/2017 at 22:48

Tri-Mode trains could be the future. A train that runs on electric, battery and diesel.

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