Getting ready for the fleet
Two brand new Hitachi test trains have arrived at Teesport (Middlesbrough) after completing a two-month journey from Japan. The two five-cartrains will form part of Virgin Trains’ new Azuma fleet and will be the first used for training on-board crew and drivers.
Virgin Azuma trains will transform travel and customer experiences when they arrive on the East Coast Main Line from December this year. The fleet of 65 trains will provide an extra 12,200 seats, offer the potential to enable faster journeys and support a big increase in through services from London to places such as Bradford, Harrogate and Lincoln. Customers can expect more comfortable journeys with increased legroom, additional luggage space and faster Wi-Fi.
Aileen Jordan, Azuma Director at Virgin Trains on the east coast, said: “We’re excited to have reached yet another milestone with the arrival of these two trains and with them, the opportunity for our drivers and on-board crews to use these for training ahead of Azuma coming into service from later this year.”
Upgrades to quality
Northern has taken delivery of two Class 170 trains at its Neville Hill depot near Leeds. The trains, which previously provided services north of the border for ScotRail, will undergo a full refurbishment and features available to customers will include power sockets and air-conditioning. Staff training on the trains will be undertaken on a route between Holbeck near Leeds and Nottingham, and the will provide services between York, Harrogate and Leeds from May 2018.
The delivery of these trains is another milestone in Northern’s programme of train upgrades as the train operator invests millions in improving its existing fleet and phasing out its older Pacer style trains.
Ben Ackroyd, Director of Engineering at Northern said: “The Class 170s represent an upgrade in the quality of train currently serving this area of Northern’s network and provide a first look at some of the features we will be installing on all of our existing fleet, providing a really high standard of on-board customer experience as we continue our programme of upgrades.”
Programme ahead of schedule
The 115th and final Siemens Class 700 Desiro City train (1140th new carriage) has rolled off the production line at the company’s train factory in Krefeld, Germany, marking a significant milestone in the completion of the Government-sponsored Thameslink Programme to upgrade the route and add extra capacity for passengers travelling north to south through London and across the south east. The last unit will undergo testing at Siemens’ test centre in Wildenrath before making its way to the UK in May.
The Siemens Class 700 Desiro City train is the first ‘second generation’ fully digitally enabled train in passenger service and the first mainline train to successfully use Automatic Train Operation and the European Train Control System to increase capacity across London. The first Class 700 pre-series was completed some five years ago and over the past 2.5 years during the peak of production Siemens has manufactured two carriages every day using 80 tonnes of material per day.
The first Class 700 entered into service in June 2016 and there are now 68 units currently in passenger service running about 800,000 miles per month, with 8.5 million miles of passenger service achieved to date. Govia Thameslink Railway is set to have accepted the full fleet of 115 trains by summer 2018. By the end of 2019, all these new trains will be in service and will flow in and out of central London every two to three minutes during the busiest times, providing 80 per cent more peak seats across the capital.