New trains improve customer experience and capacity with more seats
First Trenitalia chooses British-based train manufacturer in contract worth more than £350m including maintenance services, with trains financed by Rock Rail West Coast
Cleaner, greener modern trains with two-thirds reduction in carbon emissions overall
First Trenitalia, whose new Avanti West Coast rail service starts on Sunday 8 December, has today awarded a contract worth more than £350m to Hitachi Rail to provide and maintain 23 new intercity trains (135 carriages), to be built at its County Durham factory.
Bringing additional capacity to services along the West Coast Main Line and in North Wales, these new, state of the art intercity trains will start operating in 2022. The trains will be a mix of ten seven-carriage electric trains and 13 five-carriage bi-mode trains, with the ability to switch seamlessly between electric and diesel power. The electric trains will operate between London, the West Midlands and Liverpool while the bi-mode version will serve the London to North Wales route. They will be part of the fleet operated by the new intercity operator, to be known as Avanti West Coast, that begins operation on Sunday 8 December.
These are fast-accelerating 125mph trains which draw from their Japanese bullet train heritage. As a result of their modern design, passengers will enjoy a quieter journey compared to the diesel-only trains they will replace. The new trains will have better and more reliable free Wi-Fi, at-seat wireless inductive charging for electronic devices, plug sockets and USB slots; a brand-new catering offer and a real-time passenger information system that can advise customers of connecting rail services.
There are 453 seats on a 7-car service and 301 seats on a 5-car service increasing compacity compared to the Class 221 Voyager trains they replace (which have 258 seats). The seven-carriage version of the electric trains will have similar numbers of seats to a nine-carriage Pendolino, owing to the longer 26 metre carriages of the Hitachi trains.
The bi-mode trains will run for most of the journey using electric power only, switching to diesel power for those parts of the network that are not electrified – for example, the North Wales Coast Line to/from Holyhead.
Due to the high environmental standards of their diesel engines, the new trains are cleaner and more efficient than the trains they are replacing. Particulate matter emissions are reduced by more than 90% and NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions are reduced by more than 60% compared to the engines currently in service. The introduction of these new trains will help to support the UK’s drive for a cleaner, greener environment. Bi-mode technology is an important first step in de-carbonising rail and achieving ‘no net emissions’.
By running on electric rather than diesel power for the vast majority of the route is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by around two-thirds across the franchise. Passengers using locations such as Birmingham New Street and Glasgow Central will benefit from cleaner air within the station due to fewer diesel train services.
The new trains will be built at Hitachi’s factory at Newton Aycliffe in north-east England, supporting thousands of jobs across the country. Hitachi Rail prioritises UK suppliers whenever possible, including with servicing and maintenance operations. This approach has resulted in Hitachi Rail spending more than £1.6 billion with UK suppliers since 2013. To date, wheelsets have come from Manchester; windows from Newcastle, door handles from Leeds, and overhead panels from County Durham, amongst many other parts made in Britain.
FirstGroup is introducing new rolling stock to improve our customers’ journeys across all its train companies – Great Western Railway, Hull Trains, South Western Railway and TransPennine Express. Together with today’s announcement, this represents an investment of £1.8bn in more than 1,000 vehicles.
Commenting on the new trains contract, Steve Montgomery, Managing Director, First Rail, said: “We look forward to beginning our Avanti West Coast services on Sunday 8 December, and these new trains will help us really improve travel for passengers with more services, more seats, a better journey experience, enhanced catering and added comfort.”
Ernesto Sicilia, Trenitalia UK Managing Director, said: “We are pleased to announce this new fleet which highlights our commitment to innovation and desire to constantly improve our services. We are delighted to provide more efficient and modern trains which are sustainable and environmentally friendly, reducing CO2 emissions by 61%, including new comfortable seats for an improved customer experience.”
The investment in these new trains is being financed through Rock Rail West Coast, a joint venture between Rock Rail and Aberdeen Standard Investments. Rock Rail West Coast will own the trains and lease them to First Trenitalia. As with Rock Rail’s previous new rolling stock deals, debt will be provided by institutional investor organisations (pension funds and insurance companies).
Mark Swindell, Chief Executive Officer, Rock Rail and Director, Rock Rail West Coast, said: “Rock Rail is delighted to be working with First Trenitalia and Hitachi and our institutional investor partners to bring these trains to the region and deliver step changes in the travelling experience for so many rail passengers across the country.
“This new state-of-the-art Hitachi fleet represents Rock Rail and Aberdeen Standard Investments’ fourth new rolling stock deal in the UK, and across all deals combined sees investment by the institutional investor sector of just under £2.5 billion in the UK railway. This long term, highly competitive funding enables significantly enhanced value for money to rail passengers and tax payers over the life of the trains, along with significant improvements in passenger, environmental and operational features.”
Andrew Barr, Group CEO, Hitachi Rail, said: “Based on Japanese bullet train technology, our new trains have proven to be the modern intercity train of choice, increasing passenger satisfaction wherever they run. We’re delighted to continue our excellent relationship with FirstGroup and Trenitalia, for whom we’ve delivered hundreds of trains across Italy and the UK. This new order, which will be built at our factory in the North East, is another vote of confidence in the success of our trains, which are both green and reliable.”
The contract announced today also includes an agreement for aspects of the 23 new trains to be maintained by Hitachi Rail. First Trenitalia have also signed a Maintenance Agreement with Alstom enabling the fleet to be maintained by a joint team from Hitachi and Alstom at the existing Oxley depot in Wolverhampton, supporting highly-skilled engineering jobs.
London North Eastern Railway (LNER) will celebrate more than four decades of service from the iconic High Speed Train (HST) on the East Coast route with a special farewell tour in December.
LNER will mark the retirement of the HSTs by operating a four-day special service taking in the majority of destinations along the LNER route.
To make the farewell tour extra special for those onboard and people keen to see the HST make the final journey along the East Coast route, the train will be painted in the original British Rail InterCity 125 livery.
Money raised from the tour will go towards LNER partner charity, Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). The charity works to prevent male suicide and has already benefited from more than £100,000 in donations from LNER customers donating ‘Delay Repay’ claims to help the campaign.
David Horne, Managing Director of LNER, said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to express our appreciation for the decades of service from the iconic Intercity 125 on the East Coast route. We recognise the huge transformation these trains gave to rail travel when they were introduced in the 1970s, and want to show our appreciation by taking them around the route one last time.
We’re particularly delighted that on its last service with LNER, we will take the HST on a route it’s not done with us before, from Aberdeen across to Inverness.
Our HST farewell tour gives our customers and communities the opportunity to see the train in its original lively after serving the country so well over the years before being replaced by our new world-class Azuma trains.
I’m also delighted we are able to partner with the Campaign Against Living Miserably charity to help us build on the £100,000 already raised by working together and giving the proceeds of this farewell tour to CALM.”
The tour will begin on Wednesday 18 December when the Intercity 125 HST will travel from Edinburgh to Aberdeen, and then as a special treat for those on board the train will take a special route on to Inverness. The second day will see the farewell service depart Inverness for Edinburgh with day three covering Edinburgh, Newcastle, York and Leeds before a final stretch on day four stopping all stations from Leeds to London King’s Cross.
Tickets will be available from UK Rail Tours and will include free travel with LNER on any of its services either to reach the departure station or to return home. The schedule has been designed to give as many people the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the specially liveried Intercity 125 using power cars 43206 and 43312 as part of the final journey along the East Coast.
LNER’s farewell tour will follow the last day of High Speed Trains in passenger service for LNER with the final service on Sunday 15 December. This is likely to be the 19:35 London King’s Cross to Leeds service with the 17:05 Harrogate to London King’s Cross forming the last southbound service.
Details of the full tour dates, locations and costs for travel in Standard and First Class:
• 18 December – Edinburgh-Aberdeen-Inverness
o First Class £140
o Standard £95
• 19 December – Inverness-Edinburgh
o First Class £130
o Standard £90
• 20 December – Edinburgh-York-Leeds
o First Class £155
o Standard £95
• 21 December – Leeds-London King’s Cross
o First Class £220
o Standard £125
• LNER will offer customers the option to combine Day 1 and Day 2 together with a bundled ticket for £150 Standard or £250 First Class.
Anyone with a seat reservation on the HST Farewell Tour and wishing to book a seat reservation with LNER to join a service to get to or from the special farewell service can contact the LNER Customer Solutions Centre on 03457 225 333 or by e-mailing email@example.com
Tickets are available for sale at www.ukrailtours.com
The Intercity 125 diesel-powered High-Speed Trains were built by British Rail between 1975 and 1982 to operate on long distance routes in Britain, and have run on LNER’s route since 1978. LNER will be the last train company to operate the HST on long-distance high-speed services – the purpose for which they were designed.
All LNER’s existing fleet of HSTs and Intercity 225 electric trains are being replaced by new Azuma trains built in County Durham.
Major changes planned for East Midlands Railway (EMR) services from December 2020
Includes thousands of extra seats and quicker journeys to and from London St Pancras International
Consultation runs for 12 weeks and closes 14th February 2020
The public consultation into EMR’s December 2020 timetable is now open to passengers, businesses, stakeholders and local communities across the East Midlands route.
December 2020 will see a significant change to EMR services, particularly those travelling to and from London St Pancras International. It includes the segregation of services between EMR Intercity and the introduction of a new service, EMR Electrics, which will run between Corby and London St Pancras International.
Combined, these changes will provide:
Up to 30 minutes’ quicker journey times for some EMR Intercity services
Up to 13,000 additional standard class seats to and from London St Pancras every week day
Earlier morning and later evening services
Simpler and more consistent timetable with a more even spread of departure times
Improved services for London Luton and East Midlands Airports
There are also proposals for improvements to EMR Regional services, including:
Extending Crewe to Derby services through to Newark Castle, providing additional service between Derby and Nottingham
Later evening services between Leicester and Nottingham
Services from Grimsby will extend to Leicester every two hours, providing the first direct service to Nottingham and Leicester for over a decade
There are further timetable improvements proposed which are a step towards a more substantial improvement for EMR Regional services in December 2021. A further consultation for these changes will take place towards the end of 2020.
The consultation document is split by line of route and includes a separate page for each station on the Midland Main Line. This is intended to help passengers and communities easily understand what the proposals will mean for them and their journeys.
Julian Edwards, Managing Director, East Midlands Railway, said: “Our proposals for the December 2020 timetable would deliver a step change in capacity, improve journey times and introduce a simpler and more consistent timetable.
“Although some of the changes, such as the introduction of electric services between London and Corby, are a requirement of our franchise there is still the opportunity to fine tune and improve our plans.
“We know how important a reliable and punctual railway is for the towns and cities we serve. December 2020 is a vitally important part of our promise to deliver more seats, more services and better journeys for our customers and we look forward to your feedback.”
To read the proposals and respond to the consultation, please visit www.eastmidlandsrailway.co.uk/december2020
Details have today begun to appear concerning the expected LNER tribute to the HST.
An earlier tweet from Tim Dunn has got the ball rolling with LNER stating they will provide further information in the coming days to confirm final details.
It is believed that 43302. the World record holder for the fastest diesel locomotive, along with a set of 7 MK3 coaches and a second power car will be repainted, not vinyled, into original BR HST colours for the special charity journeys.
The charity journeys are expected to be –
18 Dec: Edinburgh to Aberdeen
19 Dec: Aberdeen to Newcastle via Inverness
20 Dec: Newcastle to Leeds via York
21 Dec: Leeds to Kings Cross
The charities to benefit are believed to be,
The CALM Zone
We are awaiting confirmation from LNER on the final details, but it appears the cat is well and truly out of the bag!
Heritage Painting (http://www.heritage-painting.com) will take care of the Powercars, and they couldn’t be in better hands, judging by their recent work with the 125 Group on their fleet of MK3s.
The MK3 coaching stock is believed to be being taken care of at Craigentinny Depot.
Interest in this final HST fling is likely to be off the scale, we recommend keeping a close eye on LNER social media accounts in the coming days if you want to be part of this fond farewell.
Two brand new funding pots available for Community Rail Partnerships and Station Adopters
Over £100,000 available until April
Part of EMR’s commitment to empower local communities with over £2.5million available over next eight years
Funds designed to improve local stations and enhance community opportunities
East Midlands Railway is encouraging Community Rail Partnerships and Station Adoption Groups to apply for a share of significant new funding to bring their ideas to life and transform their local stations and enhance their local communities.
It is part of EMR’s commitment to invest more than £600 million to improve all parts of the network for passengers, communities and to support a thriving East Midlands.
The funding is split into two schemes; ‘Community Development Fund’ and ‘Station Improvement Fund’ and will be available every year.
The Community Development Fund is used to support initiatives that have significant impact in the wider communities EMR serves, including programmes to work with local schools and other community groups.
The Station Improvement Fund supports ideas to significantly improve local stations, to ensure they are welcoming and integral parts of their local communities.
Donna Adams, Community Engagement Manager, EMR said: “Both of these funding streams are vital in making a difference to the communities that we serve and understanding what their needs are.
“We are looking forward to receiving applications from our Community Rail Partnerships and Station Adoption Groups and bringing their projects and ideas to life”.
Jools Townsend, ACoRP Chief Exec said: “We are delighted that East Midlands Railway is supporting community rail partnerships and groups with the introduction of these two funding schemes.
“This will empower groups to bring their stations and railways closer to the community, helping local people get the most from their railway, and promoting sustainable travel opportunities”.
Northern warns flooding disruption in South Yorkshire may continue until Monday morning – Updated 6pm Saturday 9 Nov
Northern is warning customers in South Yorkshire that some routes are likely to stay closed at least until Monday morning.
While flooding in the area continues to subside, tracks in several locations remain under water.
Northern is working closely with colleagues at Network Rail to return normal working to the railway as soon as possible, but conditions are difficult and many assessments can only take place once all water has been removed.
A spokesman for Northern said: “Flooding in some parts of South Yorkshire continues to have an impact on our ability to run services.
“The rail industry is doing all it can to deal with the issues caused by flood water, but in many cases the full picture will not be apparent until all water has been drained from the tracks.”
The spokesman added: “Until further notice we are still advising customers not to travel in some areas as rail travel is not possible and roads are also badly affected.
“Colleagues from Network Rail are working around the clock to try to return to normal working conditions and we would like to thank our customers in South Yorkshire – and across the North – for their ongoing patience and understanding.”
Northern customers across the network are advised to allow extra time for travel and to check ahead as there remains potential for disruption to services and timetables may be amended on some routes.
Status at 6pm on Saturday 9 November
Customers are advised not to travel on the following routes until further notice:
Doncaster – Scunthorpe, due to flood water at Kirk Sandall the line remains closed with no estimate as to when the route will re-open
Sheffield – Goole, flooding continues to cause issues and there is no current estimate for when the route will re-open
Sheffield – Doncaster, due to severe flooding at Rotherham and between Mexborough and Conisbrough disruption is expected to continue and there is no current estimate for when the route will re-open
There are also problems still affecting other lines in the North:
Sheffield – Leeds via Moorthorpe, flooding at Rotherham Central and Consibrough means services will not call at Rotherham until further notice
Matthew Phillips, South Western Railway team member based at Putney station, has a special connection to the railway. His great-grandfather worked on the very same route (then called the London and South Western Railway) over a century ago as a parcel porter in Southampton.
Tragically, after signing up to fight on the Western front during World War One, Arthur Wilkins was killed in action at the age of just 21, on 15 April 1918.
His great-grandson Matthew was invited to represent SWR at the Centenary Memorial Service, at Southwark Cathedral on Wednesday, commemorating those who lost their lives during both world wars. He will also lay a wreath at the Victory Arch memorial on Armistice Day, along with SWR’s Managing Director, in honour of fallen railwaymen.
Arthur is commemorated (as AJJ Wilkins) on the Great War memorial by the Victory Gate stairs, at Waterloo station. He worked for LSWR as a parcel porter at Southampton Central and in 1916 at the age of 19 volunteered to join the Hampshire Regiment. Having been injured at Paaschendaele, he returned home to convalesce before re-joining the war again in France with the 1st Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry (fighting alongside the author C.S. Lewis).
Arthur’s regiment played an important part of a wider effort in repelling the final great assault by the German army across France and Belgium at La Bassee Canal.
Arthur was killed on 15 April 1918 at the age of 21, leaving his wife and daughter (Matthew’s grandmother).
Andy Mellors, Managing Director for South Western Railway, said
“It was a honour to attend the event at Southwark Cathedral, 100 years after the first service of commemoration. It will be a very special moment to lay a wreath at the Victory Arch on Armistice Day, with Arthur’s great-grandson Matthew.”
Matthew Phillips said of his great-grandfather:
“It was an honour to be able to remember my great-grandfather, a proud railwayman for our company and his colleagues who gave up their today for our tomorrow. My family have always been incredibly proud of him. Despite not wanting to go, he signed up and embarked for the war twice – the second time knowing the horrors of the war.
“Thanks to the information passed on by my grandmother and the research my father and I have done for many years, we visited his plaque in Ploegsteert, Belgium 18 months ago. He is a hero to our family.”
Arthur was one of over 186,475 railway workers from the UK and Ireland who volunteered and served in World War One. It is claimed that 18,957 of them lost their lives.
EMR, LNER and Department for Transport have reached an agreement for High-Speed Trains to be cascaded to EMR
LNER sets were significantly refurbished in 2016 and offer improved passenger facilities
First will arrive with EMR shortly and due to enter service in early 2020
East Midlands Railway can confirm it will start to temporarily operate a cascaded fleet of High Speed Trains (HST’s) in early 2020.
The fleet will be cascaded from London North Eastern Railway (LNER) following an agreement between EMR, LNER and the Department for Transport.
By the end of 2020, all EMR Intercity services will be delivered by Class 222 and Class 180 trains. These trains meet the PRM-TSI compliance and are significantly more modern than the HST’s which will be removed from the East Midlands franchise.
By December 2022, an overall investment of more than £400 million will replace or refurbish all trains on the network, including the introduction of the brand new bi-mode units on EMR Intercity routes.
The current LNER fleet of HST’s was significantly refurbished as recently as 2016 which included new seat covers, tables, carpets and improved toilets.
The cascaded fleet also offers better accessibility and facilities for passengers, including:
Passenger toilets with improved accessibility
Call for aid facilities
Larger wheelchair spaces
Priority seating – including moveable armrests
At seat power sockets in first and standard class
Further improvement work will also be carried out before entry into service with EMR, including the installation of a new on-board Passenger Information System.
This is a temporary measure, designed to provide the best possible passenger experience, while EMR works to introduce a more modern and improved train fleet, better suited to the needs of the network.
In addition to the cascaded trains, EMR will continue to offer a high-quality passenger assistance programme, ensuring all passengers can travel with ease and will receive the support they require.
Chris Wright, Fleet Director, East Midlands Railway, said: “By December 2022, we will have replaced our entire train fleet to provide modern and accessible trains better suited to the routes they operate. That work is already well underway but it does not happen overnight.
“The agreement to temporarily use the cascaded HST’s means we can provide a much better service for all passengers travelling on our EMR Intercity services in the short term, while we invest to provide a better service going forward.”