Hitachi Rail Europe has secured a contract to deliver 19 new bi-mode trains for the new TransPennine Express (TPE) franchise, operated by FirstGroup.

The contract, for the fleet of AT300 Inter City trains is the first to be finalised by TPE and has been financed by Angel Trains.

The new five-car Hitachi AT300 bi-mode trains will be capable of operating on both electric power and diesel power, and capable of running at speeds of 125 miles per hour.

Compared to the average class 185 train, the vehicles will provide an extra 161 seats and offer better reliability and efficiency as well as advanced customer information systems.

TransPennine Express managing director Leo Goodwin said: "The signing of this contract is the first major step for the new franchise.

"These brand new state-of-the-art Hitachi trains will lead to significant improvements in seating, capacity and provide a more reliable and efficient service.

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"These brand new state-of-the-art Hitachi trains will lead to significant improvements in seating, capacity and provide a more reliable and efficient service."

"These trains will be able to run at speeds of 125 miles per hour, but they also have the capability of running at 140 miles per hour if the network allows for it in the future.

"These speeds will reduce journey times across our network, bringing our great towns and cities in the north closer together.

"The overall comfort and experience will also be enhanced with more entertainment options, free Wi-Fi, better catering and real-time information systems."

Hitachi Rail Europe noted the majority of the carriages will be assembled at its rail vehicle manufacturing facility at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, and will be introduced to the network from December 2019.

The company will also offer full service provision, including maintenance, cleaning and stabling at its Doncaster Carr and Craigentinny (Edinburgh) maintenance centres, while overnight stabling and servicing will be carried out at the Edge Hill, Heaton and York depots.

The fleet of AT300 trains will be related to the Class 800 bi-mode trains designed for the Department for Transport’s InterCity Express Programme (IEP), but will use higher engine operating power to cope with gradients in the region.

Image: A Hitachi AT300 Inter City bi-mode train. Photo: courtesy of Hitachi Rail Europe.