Transport operator FirstGroup has placed an order for five AT300 125mph intercity electric trains with Hitachi.

The latest order follows the completion of a £100m rolling stock deal between FirstGroup and Hitachi. This deal was financed by Beacon Rail.

The trains will run on the planned low fare rail link between London and Edinburgh, which is expected to commence services from 2021.

FirstGroup has already secured the necessary approval from the Office of Rail and Road to run the London-Edinburgh ‘open access’ service.

The service aims to attract airline passengers and encourage rail travelling.

“Our plans show we are serious about competing with low-cost airlines and opening up rail travel on this key route to thousands of new passengers.”

First Rail managing director Steve Montgomery said: “We’re excited to announce the next step to providing our high-quality low fare service for customers linking London and Edinburgh.

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“There’s a real gap in the market for truly affordable rail travel between the two capitals, our plans show we are serious about competing with low-cost airlines and opening up rail travel on this key route to thousands of new passengers.”

Hitachi will deliver five electric intercity trains comprising five carriages each.

Each unit will be equipped with new interiors, air conditioning, Wi-Fi and power sockets. They will also offer an additional 400 seats per train on the route.

Additionally, the electric-powered trains will be quieter and more environmentally friendly.

As a part of the agreement, Hitachi will also provide maintenance services for the trains for ten years.

Hitachi Rail Europe managing director Karen Boswell said: “Our Japanese-bullet train inspired fleet will play a vital role in supporting FirstGroup’s exciting new service.

“These trains have been designed to increase the number of seats available whilst harnessing the latest in comfort design to boost passenger experiences.”

Last month, FirstGroup partnered with Blu Wireless to deliver 5G Wi-Fi services to UK trains. Initially, services will be rolled out on the South Western Railway franchise.