Hitachi's first European train fleet all in place

The 29th and final Hitachi train ordered for Southeastern High Speed Services has reached its destination.

Logistics specialists Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, DB Schenker Rail (UK) Ltd and Hitachi Transport Systems worked together seamlessly to bring the 29 trains to the UK and to deliver them on schedule to Hitachi's depot in Ashford, Kent. All the Class 395 trains have been manufactured to UK and European safety standards in Hitachi's manufacturing facility in Kasado, Japan and shipped from Kobe, Japan, some 12,580 nautical miles to Southampton for transfer to Ashford – an overall journey of over 12,800 miles or 20,600km from factory to customer.

The Class 395 is Hitachi's first rolling stock in regular service in the European market. Currently operating on Southeastern's limited 'preview' service, journeys between Ashford and St Pancras take just 37 minutes on the 140mph train, almost an hour less than some existing services. The full passenger service will start in December 2009.

The timely delivery of the trains from Japan and successful completion of 4,000 miles 'fault free' running enabled Southeastern to launch its preview service nearly six months early on 29 June. This has proved so popular that two peak-time trains were doubled from six to 12 carriages.

Captain Mark Bookham, operations director, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, United Kingdom, said: "The three-year project to ship Hitachi's Class 395 trains from Kasado, Japan to Ashford, UK has been a seamless factory-to-dealer operation requiring careful strategic planning and execution. We developed special rubber-tyre bogies to carry the carriages on board our ships. In Southampton the carriages were rolled off the ship and then lifted using two 100 tonne mobile cranes in tandem directly onto the rail tracks running along the Ocean Terminal and reformed as a train. The trains were then taken by rail to Ashford by our logistics partner, DB Schenker."

Stuart Boner of DB Schenker Rail (UK) said: "The last leg of the journey has been delivered as planned for Hitachi through a seamless interaction between the ocean and the railway. In doing so, the Class 395s have only travelled by rail in the UK, avoiding any need for road transportation. We are proud of our role in ensuring a complex international global logistics operation has been successfully completed on-time."

Alistair Dormer, General Manager at Hitachi Rail Europe, said: "Thanks to our logistics partners, the delivery of the final Class 395 train marks the successful delivery to the UK of the country's fastest commuter trains. This has been a great opportunity for Hitachi Rail to demonstrate its efficient manufacturing and delivery to the European market. Now our focus is on making sure the fleet is fully commissioned and ready for Southeastern's full launch in December."

Hitachi Europe originally won the £250 million contract for 28 high-speed trains in October 2004. Southeastern later added the 29th train to the order to provide additional capacity. The first train arrived in Southampton on 23 August 2007.

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