South Kesteven sees arrival of futuristic Azuma locomotives that look like Japanese bullet trains
Futuristic- looking trains that look like Japanese bullet trains have arrived in South Kesteven.
LNER offically launched its Azuma trains yesterday (May 15), which will travel along the iconic east coastroute.
The first Azuma services were between Leeds, Wakefield, Doncaster, Peterborugh and London Kings Cross.
Today (May 16) sees Azuma services launched to Hull, Brough, Newark, Selby and Grantham.
The Azuma trains will be the first of 65 new trains to replace LNER's existing fleet of 45 trains which run along the 940 miles of track between Scotland, North East England, Yorkshire, the East Midlands and London.
David Horne, Managing Director of LNER, said: “The launch of the first Azuma trains is a truly momentous event for LNER and the communities that we serve.
“Setting new benchmarks in rail travel is part of our DNA, and the new Azuma trains are the next big step for LNER in making the customer experience the best that it can be. They will transform travel with improved reliability, greater levels of comfort and an average of 100 more seats on every train compared to the current fleet.
“From extra leg-room and improved Wi-Fi to being more environmentally friendly and accessible to more people, the Azuma experience is a real revolution in rail travel.”
LNER says the trains are its best train ever, promising passengers significant imporovements.
Every Azuma train has a Let’s Eat Cafe Bar and will still include the at-seat trolley service in Standard.
Customers in First Class will enjoy a complimentary two-course meal freshly prepared in the onboard kitchens using locally sourced ingredients.
First Class also includes larger tables, reclining seats and USB and plug sockets at every seat. The seats have been designed to maximise comfort and support posture.
A new traffic light seat reservation system above seats in Standard and First Class will make it easy for customers to find reserved or available seats onboard.
There’s also what LNER says is its fastest free Wi-Fi ever and plugs at every seat and blinds on every window in Standard.
An extra 7cm of legroom at every seat promises a more comfortable journey.
The trains were built by Hitachi Rail in County Durham, with LNER saying they "embrace Japanese bullet train technology with award-winning interior design."
Karen Boswell OBE, Managing Director at Hitachi Rail, said: “Hitachi-built Azumas will truly transform the passenger experience on the East Coast mainline, offering extra seats, greater reliability and more journeys.
“Azuma may look like a Japanese bullet train, but underneath it is very British, with over 70 per cent of parts sourced from the surrounding areas of our factory.”
LNER says the North East of England will see the Azuma trains arrive "in coming months, and "later this year" Azuma will arrive at Harrogate and Lincoln.
A new timetable from December 2021 promises even more regular journeys between London and Edinburgh.
Such journeys will typically take just four hours, and regular journeys between London and Leeds in two hours will become typical throughout the day.
The rail operator also reports investment of £780 million across the East Coast mainline to modernise the hundreds of miles of infrastructure and improve platforms to support the rollout of the trains.
Further upgrade works to tracks at London King’s Cross will enable the faster, more frequent journeys the Azuma trains can achieve.
Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that passengers are now able to travel on the new Azuma trains and we look forward to them reaping the benefits.
“The new trains are a very visible part of the massive investment the rail industry is making to allow more and faster journeys for passengers on the East Coast mainline. Bringing Azuma into service has been a real team effort between our engineers and the teams at LNER and Hitachi and we continue to work together so that passengers in the North East and Scotland can enjoy them as soon as possible.”
LNER adds the Azuma trains are more environmentally friendly, with them using overhead electric wires for most routes.
However, even when running under diesel power, LNER says the train’s modern engines will cut harmful emissions by 90 per cent compared to existing High Speed Trains (HSTs).
The company also says the new trains are 'substantially quieter' than existing trains.
A video of the trains can be seen here.
More by this authorDarren Greenwood