Abellio UK, recently awarded the new eight-year East Midlands Railway (EMR) franchise by the Department for Transport, has confirmed that it has now awarded a £400m contract to Hitachi Rail to build a pioneering new fleet of intercity trains.
The new state of the art intercity trains will start operating in 2022 and will serve the main cities and towns on the Midland Main Line including Sheffield, Chesterfield, Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and Lincoln as well as Kettering and London St Pancras.
The new trains will offer significant advances on the existing fleet, with passengers benefiting from more seats and modern interiors.
Abellio has ordered 33 five-carriage trains, which will regularly be operated in 10-carriage formations.
The trains will include features that passengers and local stakeholders have said they want to see, including air conditioning, free Wi-Fi throughout, plug sockets and better passenger information screens.
The new Hitachi trains are quieter and greener, meaning lower carbon emissions and a better environment for passengers, stations and communities along the route.
They have the ability to run using electric overhead lines wherever possible, taking advantage of the £1.5 billion Midland Main Line upgrade and, when running in diesel mode, will cut harmful emissions (particulate matter) by up to 90% compared to the legacy High Speed Trains.
Today’s new order for Hitachi will benefit suppliers across the country and, in particular, the East Midlands.
Hitachi’s UK train factory on Aycliffe Business Park has worked with 65 different suppliers from the East Midlands, awarding various multi-million-pound contracts to support skills and high-quality jobs in the region.
Since opening in 2015, Hitachi’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility has already delivered over 450 intercity train carriages into passenger service in the UK and, where services are in operation, passenger satisfaction rates have been boosted.
Based on Japanese bullet train technology, the new fleet for EMR is the sixth intercity fleet that Hitachi will deliver to UK train operators.
Abellio (UK) managing director Dominic Booth said: “These new trains form the centrepiece of our ambitious plans for a complete replacement of all the trains on the East Midlands Railway and are a more than £600m investment to really improve the region’s railway.
“They will respond to what our passengers have told us they want with more frequent services, faster journeys between the East Midlands and London, and provide more capacity with 80% more seats into London in the morning peak”.
Hitachi Rail MD Karen Boswell said: “Today’s announcement will be welcomed in workshops and engineering centres across the country, thanks to our large network of UK suppliers.
“Our train factory in County Durham sources train parts from across the country, including a significant amount from the region where the new trains will run.
“Hitachi is delighted that EMR passengers will soon be receiving the very latest model of our new intercity trains, which are already proving popular and increasing satisfaction among passengers in other parts of the country”.