Low-speed running trials of three pre-series Class 800 intercity train sets have started as part of the UK’s Intercity Express Programme (IEP).
The train set is an altered model of the Class 395, which Hitachi supplied for Southeastern services on High Speed I.
The Railway Gazette reported that the cabs are being tested at Hitachi’s Kasado factory in Japan and the UK is expected to receive the first set early next year, which will be tested on the East Coast Main Line.
Hitachi will provide five coaches for a nine-car set and three coaches for a five-car set, while the engines and braking system will be supplied by MTU and Knorr-Bremse respectively.
Last week, Hitachi Metals signed an agreement with Hitachi Rail Europe for the supply of rolling stock cables for the Class 800/801 trains on the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line. The supplies will include power cables and control cables used for carriage wiring.
Hitachi is also working with 30 UK-based local suppliers for the project.
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The £5.9bn IEP aims to upgrade the trains on the Great Western and East Coast main lines.
As part of the programme, Network Rail has selected Agility Trains as the train service provider. A consortium of Hitachi Rail Europe and John Laing Investments, Agility will deliver Hitachi-made trains and will also maintain them for 28 years.
Under a contract signed by Agility and the UK Department for Transport in July 2012, Hitachi Rail Europe is to invest in a new UK manufacturing plant, which will create 730 jobs.
Image: Hitachi Class 800 series train. Photo: courtesy of Hitachi Rail Europe.