Posted 10th June 2008 | 9 Comments

Bullet train in milestone run on HS1

Hitatchi's Bullet train

A HITACHI built 'bullet train' on test has notched up a milestone run on the high speed line between London St Pancras International and Ashford in Kent.

The 140 mph train covered the 57-mile run in just 32 minutes - half the time it takes conventional electric trains to cover the 40 mile journey.

The milestone was announced by Hitachi Europe Ltd following other successes in the intensive testing programme which the train is undergoing in readiness for the trains coming into full passenger carrying service.

The Hitachi Class 395 is destined to be a flagship feature of the Southeastern franchise and its high speed services between London St Pancras, Ashford and the Kent coast from December 2009.

The service will also include some stops at two new stations built at Ebbsfleet and Stratford. The trains - which will be dubbed Javelins - will also have a key role in the London 2012 Olympic Games, transporting spectators.

The latest achievement follows an earlier successful 'overspeed' test to check train stability and ride on 18th April, when the train achieved a maximum speed of 252 km/h - which is just over the train's service design speed of 140mph.

The train travelled on three test routes, between Westenhanger and Singlewell in Kent.  The train, which arrived in the UK last year, has now completed 10,900 miles over the third rail and overhead line test routes.

Alistair Dormer, general manager at Hitachi Rail Systems London, said: "We are delighted to report progress on a number of the milestones that we put in place last year for testing the Class 395 train in Kent.
 
"Informal feedback from the external engineers assessing our over-speed test was that the Class 395 provided the best train ride in stability terms since they had been testing new trains.
 
"We are confident that we will meet our deadlines for testing and for ultimately getting the train up and running commercially on the London to Ashford route in 2009."

Southeastern's operations & safety director, Mike Hodson, added: "We're delighted with the progress being made. We have around 100 drivers who will be trained to drive the Class 395s and the first to try them have already spoken enthusiastically about the comfortable, efficient cabs and the smooth, quiet ride achieved by these units."

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Paul Devall, Hythe, Kent, UK

    I have seen the HS1 as it crawls through Sandling on its way to Ashford from Dover and Folkestone.

    Sadly, it looks as though those of us that use Sandling and Westenhanger will be like a penniless kid looking through the sweet shop window when it goes into full service as we aren't getting the opportunity to use it.

    On top of that we'll find our standard rail journies extended as Southeastern cancel direct services from the coast or build in more stops between Pluckley and Tonbridge.

  • Dave Smith, Dartford, England

    Now the prices have been announced for Ebbsfleet - they are far too high. If you take into account the tube journey from Kings Cross to Bank - the time saves is very little. Even worse they are going to charge £11.50 a day to even park a scooter. The Fastrack bus service takes too long and again takes away any time advantage of the HS1. My curent fare plus tube costs £225 a month. The HS1 from Ebbsfleet will cost £329 WITHOUT the tube. With the tube the ticket must be in the region of £400 a month. Truly horrendous. If you then add on the annual parking cost of £2700 the total travel bill including tube could be £7100 a year for people living at Dartford (allowing for a discount on the annual season ticket). Now who can afford that?

  • Jason Jones, Ashford, UK

    This service will be a godsend, no more painfully slow journeys home from London to Ashford late evening - suffering stops at places like Chelsfield, Hildenborough, Marden to Pluckley only to watch a handful get off at each location. Bring it on. Other similar distance radial journeys from London enjoy a choice of fast trains in the late evening, now its our turn, at long last!

    And its pointless having 186mph domestic trains over such a short stretch of High Speed Line! The high acceleration of the 395 units compared to a Eurostar over 56 miles is probably less than 5 mins difference in end to end timings, also bearing in mind the last 25 or so miles the line speed is only 230k anyway (142 mph).

  • Gareth Miller, Chinnor, UK

    in answer to Robbie Craigs comment, there is a large amount of development due to happen in the Kings Cross area and so the link will open up new job opportunities to people in East Kent, its a complimentary addition to the existing service not a replacement

    in response to the other comment, yes the line runs upto 186mph but they have bought 140mph domestic trains, why i do not know, probably the extra cost, I find that crazy, completely crazy

  • Gareth Miller, Chinnor, UK

    in answer to Robbie Craigs comment, there is a large amount of development due to happen in the Kings Cross area and so the link will open up new job opportunities to people in East Kent, its a complimentary addition to the existing service not a replacement

    in response to the other comment, yes the line runs upto 186mph but they have bought 140mph domestic trains, why i do not know, probably the extra cost, I find that crazy, completely crazy

  • keith, normanton

    if these trains can travel at 186 mph on a line that other trains achieve this why are they only travelling at 140 mph

  • Dominic, Manchester

    How about building a few more of these trains and running an hourly Milton Keynes to Ebbsfleet and/or Peterborough to Canterbury service?

  • Paul Mills, Norwich, UK

    I hope the East Coast Main Line eventually get these Bullet trains to replace the Class 91's and Mk4 coaches. They look fantastic.

  • Robbie Craig, Ashford, Kent

    Lovely shiny train. excellent service - is it what East Kent needs?

    Let's hope that Southeastern start to realize that St Pancras is not 'london' to their East Kent customers, most of whom walk to work from the current terminii in the City or Westminister.

    The total package - including the Tube bit, will need to be competitive on time, quality AND price. I have timed the tube bit as about 20 to 25 mins to Westminister. So the total journey time will only be about 15 to 20 mins shorter - not worth much of a premium given the hassle of the tube?

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