[UK] FirstGroup: New Hitachi AT300s for open access service London – Edinburgh

FirstGroup has announced it will offer a new travel choice for passengers between London, north-east England and Scotland starting in 2021. With new Hitachi AT300 EMUs, financed by Beacon Rail, the operator wants to persuade people to take the train instead of the bus or the plane.

  • Five daily trains each way, 7 days a week
  • London, King’s Cross – Stevenage – Newcastle – Morpeth – Edinburgh
  • Average fares of less than £25
  • One Class, seats reservable online up to a few minutes before departure
  • Automatic delay repay
  • On-board catering and free wi-fi

A real choice for passengers

The first of the five services of the day from London will arrive in Edinburgh by 10am, one hour earlier than is possible now. An offer that is expected to be extra beneficial for business travellers. The low fares should persuade passengers to take the train, in stead of travelling by bus or plane. Currently two-thirds of journeys between the two capitals are made by air. FirstGroup expects that 80% of the travellers will be new to rail.

The new service will provide real choice for passengers looking to travel between London, north-east England and Scotland.

The new trains

FirstGroup will invest GBP 400.000 in the stations and acquire five new 5-car Hitachi AT300 EMUs, financed via lease company Beacon Rail. FirstGroup already operates a successful open access service between London King’s Cross station and Hull / Beverley.

The five 125 mph / 200 km/h intercity electric trains (+ 10 years of maintenance by Hitachi Rail) cost around GBP 100 million.

Impression: FirstGroup