The Intercity Express Programme has made further progress this summer as Patrick McLoughlin confirmed a £1.2 billion order for a fleet of Class 800 trains for the East Coast main line.
The 270 carriages will be assembled at Hitachi Rail Europe’s new purpose-built factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. The fleet forms the first part of an overall £5.8 billion Intercity Express Programme. The class 800 series will be operational on the East Coast Main Line from 2019.
Says Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, ‘By signing this deal we have provided further proof of our determination to transform Britain’s railways into a world-class operation through continued investment and state-of-the-art technology.
‘This new order for class 800 series trains is part of the Government’s commitment to invest in our nation’s infrastructure.
This will not only deliver significant benefits to passengers by further slashing journey times and bolstering capacity, but will also stimulate economic growth through improved connectivity between some of Britain’s biggest cities. This is good news for rail passengers and for British manufacturing.’
The rail plant in County Durham will be operational from 2015. Says Alistair Dormer, Chief Executive Officer, Hitachi Rail Europe, ‘This follow-on order by the Department for Transport is great news for passengers on the East Coast Main Line who can look forward to quicker journeys travelling on high- quality trains, with more seats and passenger space, built to the latest safety standards.
‘This order is a tremendous boost for Hitachi Rail Europe’s new factory with its 730 future employees in County Durham and for the British supply chain. This order extends firm orders at the factory until the end of the decade with significant capacity remaining available for further UK and export contracts actively being pursued.’
Last year the DfT agreed an initial order for 596 carriages with Agility Trains, a consortium of Hitachi and John Laing. As well as building at Newton Aycliffe, Hitachi is also planning to construct maintenance depots in Bristol, Swansea, west London and Doncaster, and will upgrade existing maintenance depots throughout Britain to service the class 800 series trains.
The first batch of class 800 series trains will enter revenue-earning service on the Great Western Main
Line in 2017 and on the East Coast Main Line in 2018. The full train fleet will comprise 122 complete train sets, some five-vehicles long and others nine-vehicles long.
A class 800 series train has a higher seating capacity than existing units in its class. A 9-car train will have wider aisles and 131 more seats than the equivalent Intercity 125 High Speed Train (HST) and 188 more seats than a comparable off- the-shelf new 9-car train, with no compromise on leg-room.
For an equivalent 200m train, the class 800 series train provides over 30% more seated capacity than an existing diesel Intercity 125 (HST).