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Hitachi’s AT300s for GWR to be built in Italy, not Japan

Hitachi has clarified where it is building the AT300 trains for Great Western Railway (GWR), announcing yesterday that the fleet will be manufactured in its facility in Pistoia, Italy.

It was originally understood that the fleet of 29 bi-mode trains was going to be built in Japan and maintained in London, but Hitachi Rail Italy said a team from GWR and Eversholt Rail, leasing the vehicles, were impressed with the “quality of engineering and production” at the Pistoia site.

In February 2015, Hitachi bought Italian rolling stock manufacturer AnsaldoBreda SpA and signalling company Ansaldo STS. Maurizio Manfellotto, who was AnsaldoBreda’s CEO and who now runs Hitachi Rail Italy, said: “Hitachi Rail Italy is delighted to be selected to produce this fleet of prestigious new trains, which will bring new levels of speed and experience to fare-paying customers travelling between London and the West Country.

“This production agreement for GWR is a further endorsement of Hitachi Rail Italy's train manufacturing excellence following the acquisition by Hitachi. We are hugely excited by this and the future opportunities that we are now able to create for our people in Italy as part of a major global force in rail manufacturing, and we are highly focused on delivering for the customer.”

The AT300 order is closely related to the Class 800s currently being built for the government’s InterCity Express Programme (IEP) in Hitachi’s north east UK facility in Newton Aycliffe – but will use higher engine operating power to cope with the gradients in Devon and Cornwall.

The £360m fleet is set to run between London and Cornwall and is capable of operating on both non-electric and electric routes. They will run as electric trains between London and Newbury before switching to diesel mode on non-electrified trains, equipped with bigger fuel tanks to cater for the longer distance journeys to Plymouth and Penzance.

Mark Hopwood, GWR’s managing director, said: “The AT300 trains are a key cornerstone of our strategy to deliver the biggest upgrade in a generation across the Great Western network, bringing more seats, and faster, more frequent services for our customers between London and the south west.

“Hitachi Rail Italy has a fantastic pedigree in building and delivering world class high speed trains on time and on budget, and we are delighted to be working with them on this project.”

Made up of seven nine-car and 22 five-car trains, the mixed fleet will be adaptable to 10-car formations (two five-cars coupled together) for through services to and from London.


Huguenot   23/12/2015 at 21:30

If everyone weren't in such a bleeding hurry to phase out HSTs, the AT300s could have been built at Newton Aycliffe. As it is, that factory will be too full to deliver to the specified timescale.

David Faircloth   24/12/2015 at 11:35

Doesn't Mark Hopwood live in the real world? Wasn't AnsaldoBreda was responsible for such successes(!) as the Danish IC4s and the Dutch/Belgian V250 FYRA trains?

Robert Howlett   25/12/2015 at 23:03

it is Christmas, and I have had a bit to drink but I must say I love comments like the two above, from real life people and not journalists who are to scared for their job to print the true facts!!! Merry Christmas to you all !!!

Jak Jaye   05/01/2016 at 14:48

Agree with M Huguenot,cant wait for the first wave to crash over the Dawlish wall and take out all the electrics!

Steve Agabeg   05/01/2016 at 15:00

Having spent hundreds of millions on a fleet of 125s fit for the future (let's face it, Scotland can't wait to get their hands on the fleet), wouldn't you have thought they'd have plenty of life left on their current routes, as the first comment rightly points out, what's the rush to phase these out all of a sudden? Bloody politicians playing with the railway again & it's bound to go wrong in bad weather - for certain!

Mark Bott   05/01/2016 at 17:11

The whole modernisation of the GW Mainline is a political shambles. The HST fleet could be made suitable for operation into the future. Chiltern Mk3 coaches with doors wide enough to accommodate the disabled access requirements, and also have CET toilets. Bombardier build dual power locomotives. If a suitable variant could be built to the UK loading gauge They could haul the sets electrically until the end of the wires, and then work in multiple with an existing power car on the diesel worked section. The power car could also provide the hotel power for the train. But locomotives on passenger trains seem to be politically unacceptable these days for some reason

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