TRANSPORT Secretary Chris Grayling says there will be no further delays to the introduction of new Azuma trains on the East Coast Main Line.
Even though the new fleet is operating between King’s Cross and Leeds, the trains are still incompatible with signalling equipment north of York.
However, responding to questions from Tory and Labour MPs, Mr Grayling told Parliament that the trains – the biggest upgrade on the route for 30 years – will be able to operate on the whole route from August 1.
“My understanding is that those trains are on track to start running as targeted at the start of August and will be going to Scotland later this year,” he said.
“They will deliver a transformative experience — more seats and faster, better journeys for people travelling from Scotland in the north to London and within the north, between places such as York and Newcastle. This is a really important investment.”
His answer was welcomed by York Outer MP Julian Sturdy who had asked: “The Secretary of State is right that the introduction of the new Azuma trains is an exciting development for the city of York, given the importance of the East Coast Main Line to our great city.
“Can he assure me that we will have no further delays in their introduction? There have been signalling problems north of York, and the Azuma trains will be arriving in York on August 1.”
However Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman was more critical of the Minister, saying: “These trains were promised last December, and they are still not properly in service. When will we get them?”
And Hull North MP Diana Johnson contrasted the “striking photograph of £1bn-worth of Crossrail trains sitting idly in the sidings” because the state-of-the-art railway line across the capital with the outdated Pacer trains still operating in the North.
In response, Mr Grayling said: “She talks about new trains in London, but there are new trains in London, the North, the Midlands, the South-West, the East Coast Main Line, and the Great Western Main Line, as part of a massive investment by this Government in the railways and in better trains across the whole country.”