Hitachi Rail Europe has secured a £60m contract to build five new “bi-mode” Inter City trains for the East Coast mainline.
The five-carriage passenger vehicles, which will be operated by Hull Trains, will be built at Hitachi’s new manufacturing facility on Aycliffe Business Park.
Hitachi will build five AT300 trains of five carriages each, operating as ‘bi-modes’ –– meaning they will be able to run on either electric or diesel power.
They’re expected to come into service in 2019 and would be able to travel on the electrified East Coast Main Line from London King’s Cross and then on diesel power on the unelectrified line to Hull and Beverley.
The £60m deal has been agreed between FirstGroup and Hitachi Rail Europe, financed by Angel Trains.
The benefits of the new trains include:
• More seats – 327 seats per train, 20% more than the current services
• Greater comfort – new interiors, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, power sockets
• Quieter and more environmentally friendly – electric power is quieter with lower emissions
• Reduced journey time possible – the new trains will have faster acceleration and a higher top speed of 140mph
Hitachi managing director Karen Boswell said: “Customers travelling on Hull Trains services between Yorkshire and London will enjoy a host of benefits from new Hitachi Inter City trains, which are modernising rail travel on routes across the UK.
“These trains have been designed to increase the number of seats available whilst harnessing the latest in comfort design to boost passenger experiences.
“Using our innovative bi-mode power model, these trains can begin operation immediately on the UK rail network which means passengers won’t have to wait to enjoy the new benefits.
“This is the start of a long-term relationship between Hitachi and Hull Trains and, following our recent train and maintenance order from FirstGroup’s TransPennine Express franchise, another sign of our strong commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.”
Hull Trains was crowned the UK’s Rail Operator of the Year last month at the National Transport Awards. It consistently scores amongst the highest customer satisfaction levels of any operator in the country and the ORR recently granted a further ten year track access from 2019, giving the business and its customers certainty of services until December 2029.
Steve Montgomery, FirstGroup’s rail division managing director, said: “Hull Trains is a great success story and its enduring high customer satisfaction scores really demonstrate how open access rail services can deliver for passengers in certain markets.
“These are exciting times for Hull Trains as the city of Hull moves towards UK City of Culture status in 2017.”
FirstGroup was also successful recently in a separate application to the ORR on new open access plans to operate five trains throughout the day each way between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh, designed to compete with low-cost airlines and open up rail travel between the two capitals to thousands of new passengers.
Managing director Will Dunnett added: “The new bi-mode units will bring the economic, social and connectivity benefits of electrification to the region now, including more sustainable trains, more jobs for local people and an ever better experience for customers.
“In keeping with our commitment to innovation we will also be introducing various technological advancements to further improve the customer experience over the coming year.”