Posted 15th May 2019 | 1 Comment

Azuma carries first passengers to Leeds

A HITACHI Azuma train carried passengers on the East Coast Main Line for the first time today.

The new Intercity Expresses should have started running last December, but the already postponed launch was further delayed by continuing problems with electromagnetic interference, which affected signalling and safety-critical CCTV systems.

The problems have now been resolved on part of the East Coast Main Line, and the first Azuma entered service today by working the 11.03 from London Kings Cross to Leeds, returning to London from West Yorkshire at 13.45.

No date has been set for introducing the new trains on the section between Edinburgh and Doncaster, but LNER is hoping it can start running them on services to Newcastle and Scotland by the end of the year.

The Azumas have better acceleration than the trains they are replacing, but a full timetable taking advantage of this is not expected to start before December 2020.

LNER managing director David Horne said: ‘The launch of the first Azuma trains is a truly momentous event for LNER and the communities that we serve.

‘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.

‘From extra leg-room and improved Wi-Fi to being more environmentally friendly and accessible to more people, the Azuma experience is a real revolution in rail travel.’

Azumas are also due to start running the daily LNER services to and from Hull tomorrow (16 May), replacing an HST.

Meanwhile, full-length HSTs are set to be retired from Great Western Railway on Saturday, because Hitachi Intercity Expresses have been replacing them on the main lines between London, south Wales and south-west England. The new trains will be going further afield in the far south west from Sunday, when they will be introduced on services to Newquay.

Reader Comments:

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

  • Andrew Gwilt, Benfleet Essex

    It is wonderful to see the new Class 800 Bi-Mode and hopefully the Class 801 Electric Azuma IET Trains now started service with LNER only allowing them to go as far as Peterborough, Doncaster and Leeds. But they will soon start using them heading up North to York, Darlington, Thirsk, Newcastle, Berwick-Upon-Tweed and Edinburgh Waverley.

    With LNER to introduce new services that could be announced when most of the Azuma trains are in service. And will see a re-transformation on the East Coast Main Line with the new Azumas replacing the Class 43 (Intercity 125) and Class 91 (Intercity 225). Which is why there should be a farewell tour for these iconic high speed Intercity that first served the East Coast Main Line in the 1970s. And they were first built for the East Coast Main Line.

    I will be taking a ride on the new Azuma trains this summer. Looking forward to riding on them. Overall well done London North Eastern Railway for introducing the Azuma trains in service and well done to Hitachi for manufacturing the Azuma IET rolling stocks.

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