FirstGroup has announced that the first of Avanti West Coast’s new Hitachi train fleet has concluded its trial run on the West Coast Main Line in the UK.
Designed to operate on both electric and diesel power, the class 805 bi-mode train completed the 560-mile inaugural round trip from Alstom’s Oxley depot in Wolverhampton to Glasgow Central.
This trial run was conducted following two months of dynamic testing at Network Rail’s Rail Innovation and Development Centre (RIDC) at Melton Mowbray.
Over the coming months, the trains will be placed through their paces to operate at full speed of 125mph.
Various new features for customers, including enhanced passenger information, seat reservation system, multiple running, and selective door opening, will also be evaluated.
The train’s basic functionality, including the pantograph, Wi-Fi, onboard CCTV, coupling capabilities when running as a pair and the emergency lighting, was examined during its time in Leicestershire.
Avanti West Coast fleet transition head Steve Whitewick said: “The new trains have certainly turned heads and the anticipation is building.
“It’s great to have the first two sets on the West Coast Main Line and we look forward to working with our partners to deliver a new fleet that will help deliver a step change in the travelling experience of our customers and colleagues.”
Later this year, the new Hitachi trains will replace the diesel-only Voyager trains on routes from London to the Midlands, Chester, North Wales and the North-West.
Estimated to cost £350m, the project will involve deliveries of 23 trains.