New fleet for Great Western and East Coast main lines
The first Hitachi Super Express Train to reach the UK arrived at Southampton port on 12 March.
A total of 122 trains will enter service by 2020 on the Great Western and East Coast main lines. The trains were procured by the Department for Transport (DfT) as part of the Government’s £5.7 billion Inter-city Express Programme (IEP).
The arrival of the train, a Class 800/0 five-car bi-mode set (destined for the Great Western route) was witnessed by a welcoming committee including Rail Minister Claire Perry and representatives of operators First Great Western and Virgin Trains East Coast.
The first 12 trains will be built at Hitachi’s Kasado factory in Japan and shipped to the UK, with the remainder assembled at the firm’s purpose-built Newton Aycliffe vehicle manufacturing facility, which is due to be completed later this year.
Hitachi is also constructing dedicated maintenance depots for the fleet at the former Eurostar North Pole depot in West London, Doncaster, Stoke Gifford (near Bristol) and Swansea.
The contract to deliver the fleet was agreed by the DfT and Agility Trains, a consortium of Hitachi Rail Europe and John Laing. This £5.7 billion, 27.5 year contract covers the manufacture and delivery of the trains, the new depots and ongoing maintenance and servicing of the fleet.
Rail Minister Claire Perry said: ‘It is hugely exciting to witness the arrival of the first state-of-the-art IEP train on British soil. These trains will transform rail travel for passengers travelling between many of the great towns and cities of England, Scotland and Wales; provide a massive jobs boost for Britain and deliver billions of pounds of benefits for our economy.’
The train is being shipped by road to Old Dalby test track in Leicestershire. It will be equipped with various measurement devices prior to beginning test running in April.