LONDON, 11 DECEMBER 2009 – Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd. today announced that it has handed over the 29th and final Class 395 train to Southeastern, ahead of the scheduled start of full passenger service on 13 December 2009.
The trains provide the first 140 mph high-speed domestic service in the UK, running on the HS 1 line from St Pancras International to Ashford International. From there, the service continues to Dover, Folkstone, Ramsgate and Canterbury.
Manufactured in Japan, the trains were shipped to the UK with the final vehicles being unloaded at Southampton Port on 17 August this year. Prior to acceptance all trains completed rigorous testing and fault-free running.
The on-time delivery of the trains to the UK enabled, Southeastern to launch a ‘preview’ service in June this year, almost six months ahead of the official start date. The ‘preview’ service has been highly successful with strong passenger growth and over 95% of passengers delighted with the service.
Charles Horton, Managing Director, Southeastern, said: “The new high speed service is a vital component for our new integrated timetable coming in on the 13 December. Over the summer we have worked closely with Hitachi so that we can provide a ‘preview’ service, allowing passengers to experience what the full service will be like and also allow us to make any adjustments before the full introduction. This has proven to be very successful with passenger growth of more than 200% since starting the preview services in June. Once the full service starts we hope that even more passengers will experience travelling at 140 mph.”
Alistair Dormer, Managing Director at Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “With the handover of the last Class 395 train, Hitachi Rail Europe has reached a very important milestone – we have successfully delivered our first rolling stock contract in Europe on time and we are delighted with the passenger feedback to date.
“We now look forward to supporting the start of full passenger service and we are confident that with the support of our maintenance operation at Ashford the Class 395 will quickly establish itself amongst Britain’s most reliable trains.”