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Hitachi unveils new commuter train design

Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd has revealed its newly designed AT200 commuter train, which can be provided in three-car to 12-car formations depending on route line requirements.

It is aimed at the outer suburban and regional market, and the company has been bidding to supply rolling stock for the Edinburgh-Glasgow route (see below), and for London Overground, where it is up against Bombardier, CAF, and Siemens.

A company spokesman told The Northern Echo: “Winning either of these contracts would mean that we would have a much stronger pipeline of work at Aycliffe, which would be great news for us and for the North-East.”

A life-size replica of the new train design was on show in London, giving a 200-strong audience of rail industry representatives a first glimpse of the future of commuting.

Andy Barr, chief operating officer at Hitachi Rail Europe, who unveiled the train, said: “Our team of engineers and designers have gone to great lengths to take passenger needs, operator requirements and our wealth of experience in train manufacture and maintenance into account.

“The AT200 is our new, exciting offering to the commuter rail market, a highly standardised yet flexible design that improves the travelling experience for tomorrow’s commuters.”

Developed by Hitachi Rail Europe following input from train operating companies and key stakeholders, the AT200 is a new, modular electric suburban product platform.

 Hitachi AT200 interior

The design includes inter-vehicle gangways for better use of passenger space, tables and toilet facilities, ambient LED lighting throughout, air conditioning as standard, USB and power sockets available at every seat as well as passenger wi-fi provision.

In addition, adequate luggage storage for commuter travel and cantilever seats in both standard and first class ensure that passengers find enough space for their possessions, while allowing for fast and efficient cleaning and maintenance.

The trains, made of lightweight aluminium alloy extrusions using friction stir welding, are also said to be highly resistant to corrosion, further reducing maintenance requirements.

At its core, the train has a high level of on-board diagnostics that continuously monitor the train and feed back to the maintenance base regarding aspects of its performance. This reduces maintenance, as inspections can be directed according to indications given by the diagnostic system instead of frequent checking.

The trains would be manufactured in Hitachi’s new train factory, which is currently under construction in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

Rolling stock requirements for Edinburgh-Glasgow

The Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme business case notes: “EGIP includes the procurement of 40-50 EMUs each of around 96m in length. Cars of 23m are therefore required rather than the more typical 20m EMU cars used in the UK…In order to meet the performance requirements of the EGIP timetable (specifically the end to end journey times), the rolling stock must be compatible with NR standard 25kV overhead line system; be 100mph capable; have a seating capacity no less than existing Class 170 Express operating on the E&G; and be capable of achieving 30 second dwell times with a minimum 15 second door open.”

Procuring the EGIP rolling stock will be the responsibility of the new ScotRail franchisee, the Invitation to Tender for which was issued earlier this year.

RTM asked Transport Scotland whether Hitachi was being considered as a supplier of rolling stock, and a spokeswoman said: "The ScotRail franchise procurement is proceeding and remains on course for the winning bidder to be determined in October of this year. The contents of bids, including rolling stock proposals, must remain commercially confidential throughout this process.” 

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


Notts Railman   30/07/2014 at 21:32

Well, it looks better than their previous venture into the "commuter train market" (the "Javelin" class 395). I hope they remember to fit yaw dampers at construction (rather than retro-fit as for the Class 395). The requirement for "a minimum 15 second door open" - presumably this means how long it takes to open the doors (rather than how long they stay open for). FIFTEEN SECONDS IS FAR TOO LONG - just compare the Class 395 with the LU "S" Stock to see how it should be done. A train that is designed for the "regional" market has very different luggage requirements from a "commuter" train. So which are they going for?

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