Today (Wednesday 27th February) it was announced that LNER Azuma Class 800/1 and 800/2 bi-mode units had been given authority to enter passenger service in 2019.
In 2018, LNER announced that their fleet of Azuma trains would not be entering service in December of that year; due to the ORR suspending the approval of classes 800, 801, 802 electrical multiple units, owing to safety concerns regarding the inter-car connection cables, as well as signalling issues North of York when operating on the 25,000 volt AC overhead line equipment.
The ORR has now authorised the introduction of the class 800/1 and 800/2 bi-mode units only – subject to various terms and agreements being met within a specified timeframe, these include: the use of Automatic Selective Door Opening (ASDO) being proven on the East Coast Mainline, the European Train Control System (ETCS) not being enabled other than when supporting the train’s functionality.
It is suspected that Hitachi will make the necessary modifications to the inter-car connections within a year of their authorisation for passenger service.
The trains have been tested and passed for speeds of up to 125 mph and can run in 5, 9, or 10 car formations.
They are expected to enter service between London Kings Cross, Leeds and Hull within the next few weeks.
No details have yet been released in regards to the Class 801 electrical multiple units.