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Hitachi starts running trials on Class 800s in Japan

Low-speed running trials on the new Class 800 Super Express Trains (SETs) have started at Hitachi’s Kasado factory in Japan, reports say.

The first of three pre-series SETs, ordered under the Department for Transport’s Intercity Express Programme (IEP), is being put through its paces with the first of the three bi-mode sets expected to arrive in the UK early next year for trials on the East Coast Main Line (ECML). 

RTM was told that the first SET train has been finished and has started static testing, the majority of which is build verification testing. This will then be followed by a limited amount of dynamic testing. 

The second and third trains are currently still being manufactured at Hitachi’s facility in Kasado, and towards the end of the year couple testing between two train sets will be undertaken. 

Hitachi has confirmed that all work is on schedule and the 122 trains for IEP are expected to enter passenger service in 2017 on the Great Western Main Line (GWML) and in 2018 on the ECML.

DSC 9109

RTM recently visited Warwick to view a full-scale mock-up of both the Class 800 driving cab and the carriage interiors designed by DCA Design International.

Hitachi Rail Europe will provide two variants of the SETs, namely Class 800 and Class 801. The Class 800 are bi-mode (diesel-electric) trains, whereas the Class 801 are electric trains.

The diesel engine power packs for the bi-mode variant are mounted under the floors of intermediate coaches. This means that these coaches have a higher floor height than the driving cars, which are lower to accommodate the pantograph.

As well as the testing starting in Japan, more than 50 representatives from the construction industry recently took advantage of an open event at Hitachi’s manufacturing site in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, to see progress on the £82m project.

Hosted by main contractor Shepherd Construction and supported by Hitachi Rail, the audience was given an insight into the journey and vision for the Merchant Park site. Once completed, the facility will serve as Hitachi Rail’s primary European facility for train manufacturing and assembly. It will also be the base for the manufacture of the new GWML and ECML trains.

Geoff Hunton of Merchant Place Developments said: “From Merchant’s view the Hitachi facility provides a catalyst to make Newton Aycliffe Business Park the largest park in the north and a springboard for regeneration not only of the rail and construction industry but many other sectors.”

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