‘Introducing a new bullet train inspired fleet to run along iconic stretches of British railway will be a truly historic moment,’ says Karen Boswell, managing director at Hitachi Rail Europe.
Hitachi Rail’s Italian factory work at Pistoia, Florence, where the second wave of the fleet will be constructed, has received IEP body shells and is starting work on trains that will one day thread Devon and Cornwall.
Hitachi’s British manufacturing facility has already built its first train for the Great Western Railway, which enters passenger service later this year.
‘These new trains will transform passenger experiences, offering a truly 21st century experience with more seats and on-board technology. Additional luggage space and a smoother ride will increase comfort for longer journeys, connecting distant parts of the country.
‘To make sure passengers get the new trains as soon as possible Hitachi is using its factories in Italy and the North East of England, where our skills and expertise are entirely complementary,’ adds Boswell.
Altogether 93 trains are being built at Hitachi factories in the UK and Italy using Japanese bullet train technology. From autumn 2017, the first wave of Intercity Express trains will run on the Great Western main line, connecting London to cities like Reading, Bath, Bristol and Cardiff.
Production of these trains is already underway at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. From 2018, a second wave of new trains will begin running as far south as Penzance along coastal routes in Devon and Cornwall. Work has started in Italy on these trains.
The entire fleet of 93 trains will be in passenger service by the end of 2019. Trains will be fitted with bi-mode technology, allowing them to use diesel and electric power. Hitachi is utilising manufacturing facilities in the UK and Italy to ensure the entire fleet is in passenger service by the end of 2019.
Pistoia sits at the foothills of the Apennines, 20 miles from Florence and is described as Tuscany without the crowds. Locals claim the town gave its name to the word ‘pistol’ after the development of the front loading gun in the 15th century. Happily Pistoia is equally famous for its huge flower markets.