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Work at Kasado, Japan, on new Azuma (Class 800)
Work at Kasado, Japan, on new Azuma (Class 800)

Press release -

Hitachi begins work on Virgin Trains’ Azuma fleet

Virgin Trains’ customers are a step closer to new trains as work begins on the Azuma (Class 800) fleet, due to enter service on the east coast in 2018.

Work on the bodyshells is taking place in Kasado, Japan, before the trains arrive in the UK to be built by Hitachi’s manufacturing team at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, which is home over 900 employees including 50 apprentices. UK build work on the Virgin Azuma will begin next summer.

The Virgin Azuma will transform travel and customer experiences when it arrives on the east coast main line next year. The fleet of 65 trains will provide an extra 12,200 seats, and faster journeys will make direct routes to new destinations such as London-Middlesbrough possible, as well as a big increase in through services from London to places such as Bradford, Harrogate and Lincoln.

David Horne, Managing Director of Virgin Trains on the east coast, said: “We are very excited to be moving closer to the day when our fantastic new train comes into service. The arrival of Azuma in 2018 will mark another milestone on our journey towards totally transforming travel for our customers, and the work happening now in Kasado and beginning in the summer at Newton Aycliffe are important steps on that journey.”

Karen Boswell, Managing Director at Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “The new Azuma fleet will be a combination of Japanese design and British manufacturing. The trains are built using Japanese bullet train technology, world famous for its quality and reliability. We are proud that our Newton Aycliffe team, based a short distance from the East Coast main line, will work on pioneering trains used by millions of passengers” 

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About Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd.

Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Europe, Ltd. and is headquartered in London, UK.

Hitachi Rail Europe is a total railway system supplier offering rolling stock, traction equipment, signalling, traffic management systems, and maintenance depots.

Hitachi draws on many years of experience as a leading supplier of high-speed trains such as the Shinkansen (bullet train) for the Japanese and international markets. In Europe, Hitachi Rail Europe’s first rolling stock contract was to deliver a fleet of 29 Class 395 trains, the first domestic high-speed train in the UK, which are maintained at Hitachi’s state of the art depot in Ashford, Kent. As part of the British Department for Transport’s Intercity Express Programme, Hitachi Rail Europe will replace the UK’s ageing fleet of Intercity trains, and will establish a new rolling stock manufacturing facility in the UK for this purpose. The trains will be maintained and services in a number of new maintenance
depots along the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line.

For more information about the company, please visit: www.Hitachirail-eu.com .

Press contacts

Nadia Alves-Pires

Nadia Alves-Pires

Press contact Head of External Relations & Communication – Signalling & Turnkey EMEA
Lane Cigna

Lane Cigna

Press contact Head of External Relations & Communication – Signalling & Turnkey Americas
Nina Harding

Nina Harding

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Jamie Hodge

Jamie Hodge

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Adam Love

Adam Love

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Paola Limatola

Paola Limatola

Press contact Press Office & Media, Brand Image Referent – Rolling Stock
Doug McIlroy

Doug McIlroy

Press contact Communications Manager – UK +44 7548 238 140
Anne Richardson

Anne Richardson

Press contact Head of External Relations & Communication – Signalling & Turnkey Asia Pacific
Francesca Sarnataro

Francesca Sarnataro

Press contact Brand & Communication Director – Rolling Stock