Never before have we seen so many new trains enter service on the UK’s railways. It means politicians can no longer complain about a lack of rail investment in the country, especially in the north, where so much cash has been provided for new rolling stock (see “All change”, September 2019 issue).
However, some readers will lament the fact that most of the new trains have been manufactured overseas by firms such as Germany’s Siemens, Spain’s CAF or Switzerland’s Stadler. While it is true that Hitachi has a factory in the north-east, a few of its IEP trains (or their parts) have come from Italy (Hitachi has a plant at Pistoia) and Japan.
Here are ten of the most important and interesting new trains now entering service. Note that we did not include the Elizabeth Line in the south-east as it will not open fully for at least a couple of years.
Clever publicity by LNER (London and North Eastern Railway) means most rail users know Azuma trains. They are part of the IEP (Intercity Express Programme) manufactured by Hitachi and already in service with GWR. The trains’ advantage lies in bi-mode capability enabling them to run on non-electrified lines. Azuma trains now run on the entire LNER network from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness down the ECML (East Coast Main Line) to London King’s Cross. lner.co.uk
GWR has branded its Hitachi trains as Intercity Express Trains (IET) and these are already in service across its mainline network from London Paddington to Wales and the West Country. The superior acceleration of the IET has enabled GWR to improve mainline services with faster journeys since December. gwr.com
HULL TRAINS’ PARAGONS
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