London North Eastern Railway (LNER) in the UK has introduced the first Hitachi-built Azuma train into service.

In its maiden run, the train travelled between London King’s Cross and Leeds.

The British train operator will introduce 65 vehicles to replace its older fleet of 45 trains to ensure more reliable services on the East Coast line between Scotland and London.

LNER managing director David Horne said: “The launch of the first Azuma trains is a truly momentous event for LNER and the communities that we serve.

“Setting new benchmarks in rail travel is part of our DNA, and the new Azuma trains are the next big step for LNER in making the customer experience the best that it can be.”

Hitachi started manufacturing Azuma trains for LNER in August at its Newton Aycliffe facility in County Durham.

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These trains are based on Japanese bullet train technology and are manufactured with 70% locally-sourced parts.

The first class section is equipped with larger tables and reclining seats, as well as USB and plug sockets at every seat. The standard seats also feature legroom to ensure a comfortable journey.

Additionally, the trains are equipped with a traffic light seat reservation system to find seats and fast Wi-Fi services.

The Azuma trains will run using overhead electric wires for the majority of routes and on will use diesel power for non-electrified sections.

New trains will be added to the fleet gradually to expand operations to the North East of England and Scotland.

Around £780m has been invested to upgrade the East Coast mainline and support the rollout of the new trains. The upgrades are also expected to increase service frequency.