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Virgin unveils Azumas for East Coast

Virgin have unveiled a new fleet of their fastest ever trains to increase capacity on their East Coast route.

The 65 VirginAzuma trains are capable of reaching 125mph in around four-and-a-half minutes, compared to around five minutes ten seconds for Virgin’s current electric trains and seven minutes for its diesel ones.

Virgin Azuma

Virgin has also created a cross-industry working group, including Network Rail, to investigate the potential for the East Coast route to enable their operation at 140mph.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, said: “This is a hugely important moment for passengers on the East Coast. A line which has witnessed the historic Flying Scotsman and Mallard will now see passenger services transformed with the UK’s most advanced long distance trains.”

The Azumas will cut 22 minutes off journeys, reducing London-Edinburgh journeys to four hours and London-Leeds journeys to two hours as well as providing an extra 12,200 seats and increasing capacity into King’s Cross by 28%.

They will be vital for Virgin’s plans to introduce 42 new services a week from Edinburgh to London.

They will also allow for new direct journeys to places including Middlesbrough and Huddersfield and increased services to destinations including Harrogate and Lincoln.

On board, they will feature increased leg room, ergonomically designed seats, increased overhead storage capacity, a traffic light seat booking system, free wi-fi, a socket for every seat and an on-board shop.

Azuma means ‘east’ in Japanese and the trains are being made by Hitachi in Newton Aycliffe.

(Images c. Virgin)


Andrew Gwilt   18/03/2016 at 20:21

Not to mention the Class 800/2 and the Class 801/1 & Class 801/2's that are also to be built for Virgin Trains East Coast with the Class 800/0, Class 801/0, Class 802/0 and Class 802/1 also to be built for Great Western Railway and Class 802/2 for First Hull Trains in the upcoming months and years to come.

Neil Palmer   19/03/2016 at 20:07

Yes Andrew, not to mention them, because that is what they are talking about. They're the same thing.

Andrew Gwilt   20/03/2016 at 05:50

That's right Neil. But some of the IEP's are to be built in the UK whilst the rest are to be built in Italy as there is a Hitachi facility in Italy.

Chris   22/03/2016 at 15:39

Andrew, aside from the pre-production units which have been assembled in Japan, the Class 800, 801 and 385 fleets will be built at Newton Aycliffe. Class 802 (which does not come under the IEP contract) will be built at the former AnsaldoBreda facility in Pistoia.

Fred   18/08/2017 at 11:40

Should have bought class 390s, way better

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