Hitachi wins £350m Avanti West Coast trains order
Avanti West Coast replaces Virgin Trains on the west coast route from Sunday.
Hitachi has been awarded a £350 million contract to build 23 new trains for Avanti West Coast, the manufacturer has announced.
The 125mph intercity trains will be built at the firm’s factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
They are expected to enter service from 2022.
Avanti West Coast replaces Virgin Trains on the west coast route, which links London with towns and cities across England, North Wales and Scotland, from Sunday.
The operator is owned by First Trenitalia, a partnership between Aberdeen-based transport company FirstGroup and Italian firm Trenitalia.
Andrew Barr, group chief executive of Hitachi’s rail division, said: “Based on Japanese bullet train technology, our new trains have proven to be the modern intercity train of choice, increasing passenger satisfaction wherever they run.
“We’re delighted to continue our excellent relationship with FirstGroup and Trenitalia, for whom we’ve delivered hundreds of trains across Italy and the UK.
“This new order, which will be built at our factory in the North East, is another vote of confidence in the success of our trains, which are both green and reliable.”
The trains will be a mix of 10-carriage electric trains and 13 five-carriage bi-mode trains, which will switch from electric to diesel power where the railway is not electrified such as in North Wales.
The electric trains will run between London, the West Midlands and Liverpool, while the bi-modes will serve the London to North Wales route.
Hitachi said the bi-modes will be quieter for passengers compared with the diesel Class 221 Voyager trains they are replacing.
The new trains will have better and more reliable free wi-fi, at-seat wireless charging for electronic devices, plug sockets and USB slots, improved catering and a real-time passenger information system, according to the manufacturer.
The bi-modes will have 17% more seats than the Voyagers while the new electric trains will have a similar capacity to the existing Pendolino trains.
First Rail managing director Steve Montgomery said: “We look forward to beginning our Avanti West Coast services on Sunday 8 December, and these new trains will help us really improve travel for passengers with more services, more seats, a better journey experience, enhanced catering and added comfort.”
Trenitalia UK managing director Ernesto Sicilia said: “We are pleased to announce this new fleet which highlights our commitment to innovation and desire to constantly improve our services.
“We are delighted to provide more efficient and modern trains which are sustainable and environmentally friendly, reducing CO2 emissions by 61%, including new comfortable seats for an improved customer experience.”
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