New Japan-inspired Virgin Azuma train visits Leeds

Virgin's new Azuma train.Virgin's new Azuma train.
Virgin's new Azuma train.
A new train which a company claims is one of the "most advanced" in the UK made its first visit to Leeds.

Virgin’s state-of-the-art Azuma visited the city on Saturday.

The train, which takes its name from the Japanese word for “east”, will be rolled out on Virgin Trains’ east coast from next year.

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Rail operators promise big improvements for West Yorkshire in 2018

The test-run by manufacturer Hitachi is part of a programme to prepare the east coast for the 65-strong Azuma fleet.

The first of these will enter service in December 2018 as part of a two-year rollout programme, adding 25% more seats per service.

Virgin said the Azuma is" set to be one of the most advanced passenger trains on the UK rail network, able to accelerate faster than existing trains and providing more comfort and space inside".

Hitachi is building the new trains at their factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, which is staffed by to 1,000 train builders, including 50 apprentices.

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David Horne, Virgin Trains managing director on the east coast route, added: “Azuma will bring a new era of style in long distance rail travel and we’re excited to see preparations gather pace that will help transform services for passengers in Leeds and across Yorkshire."

Andy Rogers, Programme Director for Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “Our rigorous test programme is moving apace ahead of the trains carrying passengers later this year on the East Coast main line.

"Over the coming months passengers and enthusiasts will be seeing plenty more of our British-built Azuma trains testing in Yorkshire.”

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