People travelling from Leeds to Kings Cross on London North Eastern Railways will get the first taste of the new Hitachi trains on May 15 bringing “railways on the East Coast into the 21st century.”
The new trains will be introduced on the 0700 Hull to London King’s Cross and the 1718 London Kings Cross to Hull services, the following day, marking the biggest milestone on the route in 30 years.
Transport campaigner Adam Fowler said it would transform passenger experience, replacing 20-year-old trains, with “faster, smoother, and better quality journeys with more facilities.”
The body shells were made in Japan, and shipped to County Durham where they were assembled and fitted out at the purpose-built Hitachi factory at Newton Aycliffe.
The name Azuma translates to “East” in Japanese, in homage to the Japanese bullet trains that inspired the design.
Mr Fowler said: “It is the first time bi-mode trains capable of running on electric or diesel will be operating on the main coast East Line giving places like Hull, Middlesbrough and Harrogate the same technological advances as pure electric trains give.”
Henri Murison, Director, Northern Powerhouse Partnership said: “The new Azuma trains on the East Coast Mainline will bring more frequent and improved connectivity for businesses to London in the South and towards Scotland in the North.
“As the South Bank develops in Leeds, and the York Central scheme comes forward, it is clear how much economic benefit comes from stations. New services will be more frequent, and places like Bradford have much more direct access to London.”