Two new Hitachi-built five-car trains have arrived at Teesport in Middlesbrough, UK, following the completion of a two-month journey from Japan.
Capable of operating on electric and diesel power, the vehicles will form part of Virgin Trains’ new Azuma fleet and will be used to train on-board crew and drivers.
Virgin Trains have already started driver training using Azuma simulators at multiple stations including King’s Cross, Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
Scheduled to start operating on the East Coast Main Line from December this year, the new Virgin Azuma fleet will comprise 65 trains and ensure faster journeys on the route with an additional 12,200 seats.
The new trains will also offer additional legroom and luggage space with faster Wi-Fi to ensure comfortable journeys for passengers.
Virgin Trains East Coast Azuma director Aileen Jordan said: “We’re excited to have reached yet another milestone with the arrival of these two trains and with them, the opportunity for our drivers and onboard crews to use these for training ahead of Azuma coming into service from later this year.”
Hitachi currently has five Azuma trains for testing and the company is set to step up its testing programme.
Located at a short distance from the East Coast Main Line, Hitachi’s UK facility at Newton Aycliffe in Durham County will soon begin manufacturing the Azuma trains. The facility is staffed by 1,000 employees, including 50 apprentices.
The company has also developed a new £80m train depot in Doncaster to maintain the new Azuma fleet.