May start for Class 800 Azumas on London-Leeds route

Azumas will enter passenger traffic on the East Coast Main Line from May 15.


Operator LNER confirmed to RAIL that the delayed introduction of the Hitachi trains will begin that day on the London King’s Cross-Leeds route, with other services to follow.


“This is what customers up and down the country have been waiting for, and represents a monumental milestone for rail travel,” said LNER Managing Director David Horne.


“We’ve worked very hard alongside our partners and suppliers to reach this point, and I look forward to giving all our customers an excellent experience every time they travel with us.”


Testing and training is continuing on the East Coast Main Line, while the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has so far authorised the Class 800 fleet for passenger use. These are the bi-mode trains, of which 13 nine-car and ten five-car sets are on order, although while 11 of the nine-cars have been delivered for testing, so far only two of the five-cars have arrived.


Hitachi Rail Managing Director Karen Boswell said: “Our British train factory has sourced parts from across the country to build the Azuma trains, which herald a new era for this famous route.”


  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 875, published on March 27, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from March 23.
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