Bi-mode Azuma train debuts in Yorkshire
British train operating company London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has entered into regular service the Hitachi-built Azuma trainset. On 15 May the nine-car bi-mode vehicle travelled from London King’s Cross station to Leeds, Yorkshire. It is the second company in the United Kingdom to operate this type of passenger trains.
The brand new Azuma bi-mode trainset is the first of 65 new vehicles that will replace the company’s rolling stock running between Scotland, North East England, Yorkshire, the East Midlands and London. LNER will add to its fleet the Azuma trains of two types: 23 bi-mode (diesel- and electric-powered) vehicles and 42 electric units. They are classified as Class 800 and 801 correspondingly. Both types have two compositions: the five- and nine-car sets. The Class 801 trains are also scheduled to enter into service during this year.
The new Azuma vehicle provides a more comfortable trip for passengers with extra leg-room (additional 7 centimetres) and improved Wi-Fi connection. Each trainset has a Let’s Eat Cafe Bar. The cars are divided into two-class service: Standard and First Class. “Setting new benchmarks in rail travel is part of our DNA, and the new Azuma trains are the next big step for LNER in making the customer experience the best that it can be. They will transform travel with improved reliability, greater levels of comfort and an average of 100 more seats on every train compared to the current fleet,” the LNER’s Managing Director David Horne said.
The Azumas trains are producing by Hitachi Rail at its UK’s facility in County Durham. “Azuma may look like a Japanese bullet train, but underneath it is very British, with over 70 per cent of parts sourced from the surrounding areas of our factory,” Karen Boswell OBE, Managing Director at Hitachi Rail, said. The name ‘Azuma’ means east in Japanese. In the UK it is also known under brand ‘Intercity Express Train (IET)’ used by Great Western Railway since October 2017. The latter company is a pioneer in operating Azuma vehicles in the UK.