TransPennine Express customers are a step closer to experiencing brand new trains as Hitachi has begun building the new AT300 type intercity trains. Today, Hitachi has released the first images of the first two 5-car units currently under construction in Kasado, Japan, that will be used for testing. The designated 802201 and 802202 will arrive in the UK next year.
Testing in the UK will begin in summer 2018. As of December 2019, the new trains will enter service connecting major cities in the North of England and Scotland. They will run from Manchester and Liverpool, across the iconic Pennines to cities such as Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh. In total nineteen 5-car trains were ordered by FirstGroup in 2016, which are being financed by Angel Trains.
The 19 trains will all be hybrid, meaning they can switch seamlessly mid-journey between electric and diesel power. The trains, able to run in either five or ten carriage formation, are capable of speeds of up to 140mph in electric mode and 125 mph using diesel engines. By using modern MTU engines from Rolls-Royce, the trains will cut harmful emissions under diesel power by up to 90%.
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The trains will provide 161 additional seats compared to the existing trains on the popular intercity route. Customers will benefit from spacious carriages, providing extra legroom and additional luggage space. Free Wi-Fi will be available in both Standard and First Class as well as complimentary on-board entertainment system, Exstream, allowing customers to stream the latest movies and TV shows during their journey.
A new depot at Doncaster
The trains will be maintained at Hitachi’s newly built £80million depot in Doncaster, home to 250 employees and four apprentices. Long-term jobs will also be secured at existing depots in Liverpool, Newcastle and Edinburgh, which all play a role in maintaining the trains.
Investment in the trains and new depot come alongside the Great North Rail Project, which will upgrade key parts of the route to enable better services.