The first of the 110 new Intercity trains for the East Coast and Great Western Main Lines has arrived to Portsmouth from Japan.
Funded through the UK Government’s £5.7bn Intercity Express Programme (IEP), the high-speed Hitachi 800 series train will replace the late 1970s and 1980s Intercity 125 and Intercity 225 fleets.
The first five-car pre-series train was shipped from Japan’s Kudamatsu City in January and will be used for testing on a closed circuit at the Old Dalby testing facility and in a Signal Protected Zone (SPZ) on the East Coast Main Line.
The Hitachi 800 series was jointly developed by Hitachi and multiple UK-based and European suppliers. The core of the fleet will be manufactered at the new Newton Aycliffe facility in Durham which is currently being built by Hitachi Rail Europe, Hitachi's European subsidiary.
“It is hugely exciting to witness the arrival of the first state-of-the-art IEP train on British soil,” said Rail Minister Claire Perry. “These trains will transform rail travel for passengers travelling between many of the great towns and cities of England, Scotland and Wales; provide a massive jobs boost for Britain and deliver billions of pounds of benefits for our economy.
The 800-001 train serves as a technology transfer vehicle, with staff from the Newton Aycliffe factory having spent around 3,000 man-hours working in Kasado together with their Japanese counterparts.
“The arrival of the first train here in the UK is a major achievement for everybody involved in building this train – our colleagues in Japan, our UK suppliers and also the team from Newton Aycliffe, who worked on this train in Japan to hone their train-building skills,” said Andy Barr, Chief Operating Officer of Hitachi Rail Europe. “Today marks a new departure in the Intercity Express Programme for Hitachi Rail Europe, as we enter the test phase and build up to the opening of our Rail Vehicle Manufacturing Facility in the autumn of this year.”
The first Hitachi 800 series trains are expected to start ferrying passengers on the Great Western Main Line in 2017 and one year later on the East Coast Main Line.
The whole fleet should be delivered by 2020.
The £82m Rail Vehicle Manufacturing Facility in Newton Aycliffe is in the final stages of construction and should be completed by the summer of 2015. Production of the bulk of the Class 800/801 series trains is scheduled to begin in 2016.