Virgin Trains East Coast today announced what they’ll be calling their new fleet of trains.
Ladies and Gentlemen – Presenting the Virgin Azuma.
Here’s the rendering:
And here it is in real life:
— Virgin Trains EC (@Virgin_TrainsEC) March 18, 2016
Let’s cut out the PR waffle in the press release and get onto the nitty-gritty.
The Japanese connection? These are being manufactured by Hitachi Rail – who have manufactured the pre-production series in Kasado in Japan, and will be manufacturing the production series in Newton Aycliffe in the north-east of England.
These new express trains are being introduced along the Great Western Main Line (as part of its electrification) and the East Coast Main Line (which Virgin Trains East Coast operate).
The differences between them?
- The Class 800 is a Dual Mode Electric/Diesel Multiple Unit, allowing to operate on electrified and non-electrified routes.
- The Class 801 is an Electric Multiple Unit
Initially, these train will operate at 125mph in sections along the East Coast Main Line with Virgin Trains East Coast and Network Rail seeing if they can bring the line speed up to 140mph.
Virgin Trains East Coast has listed some benefits including:
- Faster train times
- New destinations on the Virgin Trains East Coast route
- Onboard Free WiFi
- Onboard Shop
Meanwhile, there have been renderings of how the trains will look on the inside too:
Seating remains in the “Intercity style”, with seating 1-2 in First Class, and 2-2 in Standard Class.
Virgin Trains currently operate the classic Class 43 High Speed Train (Diesel) and the more modern Class 91 Electric Locomotive with Mark IV carriages
All being well with the testing and construction of the Azzuma – you’ll see them on the East Coast Main Line in 2018.
If you want to see what they look like sooner, you might want to keep an eye on the Great Western Railway – operating on the Great Western Main Line – who are planning introduction in 2017…
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