Testing the tech
Hitachi has begun testing TransPennine Express’ new Nova 1 fleet, with a successful run between Doncaster and Darlington occurring on July 25th. People will be able to catch a glimpse of the Hitachitrains on test in the lead up to entering passenger service next year, as over the coming months testing will span the entire route, calling at major stations across The North and Scotland.

The trains are currently using Hitachi’s new £80 million depot in Doncaster – the fleet is being built by Hitachi and financed by Angel Trains. Hitachi is using its famous Japanese-bullet train technology to make the new Nova 1 fleet light and aerodynamic. The 19 trains will all be bi-modes, meaning they can switch seamlessly mid-journey between electric and diesel power. The trains, will be able to run in either five or ten carriage formation, capable of speeds of up to 140mph in electric mode and 125 mph using diesel engines.

The trains will provide 161 additional seats compared to the existing ones on the busy intercity route. Customers will benefit from spacious carriages, providing extra legroom and additional luggage space and the experience on-board will be completely transformed. Each new train will offer fast, free Wi-Fi in both Standard and First Class as well as a complimentary on-board entertainment system, Exstream, allowing customers to stream the latest movies and TV shows during their journey. By using modern MTU engines from Rolls-Royce, the trains will cut harmful emissions under diesel power by up to 90%. The trains are fitted with the latest in-cab digital signalling technology ahead of the route becoming the first digitally controlled intercity line.

Order for 100 trains
The Board of Directors of SNCF Mobilités has approved a firm order for 100 next-generation Avelia Horizon very high speed trains (TGV). This new generation of very high speed trains addresses ambitious goals in terms of competitiveness of the rail sector and profitability for SNCF, with a total acquisition cost 20% lower than that of the previous generation. The teams of experts working on this project for two years have risen to the challenge of specifying a new train at a reduced cost of €25 million per trainset, with an additional budget of €190 million for options and services.

Avelia Horizon will consist of two innovative power cars of reduced length, combining high performance and compactness, and articulated double-deck passenger cars. Their design allows for a 20% increase in passenger-dedicated areas, allowing the train to accommodate up to 740 passengers in the highest-capacity configuration chosen by SNCF.

Maintenance costs will be more than 30% lower than those currently recorded by SNCF. The train’s maintainability is taken into account from the design stage, with a remote diagnostic system for predictive maintenance, which improves the trains’ reliability and availability. Many of the components have an optimised design to simplify, reduce, and allow longer intervals between maintenance interventions. Thanks to its aerodynamic design and a more efficient traction drive, the next-generation TGV will consume 20% less energy than existing TGVs.

HS2 invitation
CAF has welcomed an invite from HS2 Ltd to join the list of companies invited to participate in their procurement programme for state-of-the-art high-speed trains to operate on the UK’s new HS2high-speed network and beyond.

Operating at speeds of up to 225mph (360kph), the new fleet will deliver unparalleled levels of reliability, speed and comfort as well as providing much-needed extra capacity between the UK’s major cities and giving a boost to high tech skills and expertise in the UK. The contracts will be for the design, build and maintenance of at least 54 trains, coming into service from 2026.

Welcoming the news, Richard Garner, CAF UK Director said: “Our Oaris high speed trains use the latest technology offering high speed travel which is comfortable, safe and provides digital connectivity to facilitate the busy world that we live in. The new high-speed trains will meet the highest international standards for passenger experience, noise reduction, and environmental sustainability. CAF plan to build the trains in its manufacturing facility currently being constructed in Newport, Wales.”