The first shells for Avanti West Coast‘s new trains have arrived in the UK, marking the start of Avanti West Coast’s improvements for passengers.
The more spacious trains, made by Hitachi Rail, are due to enter service in 2022 and will replace the Super Voyagers serving the West Midlands, North Wales and Liverpool.
The shells landed at Southampton Docks from Hitachi Rail’s Kasado factory in Japan ahead of building work at Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe plant this year.
When complete, the fleet of trains will include 13 Class 805 bi-mode trains and 10 Class 807 electric trains. The bi-mode trains will have five carriages, and the electric trains will have seven.
Whilst initial body shells of the bi-mode fleet will be sent from Japan, the Avanti West Coast order marks a significant change in Hitachi’s train building process.
The 56 body shells will be welded together in the North East, where an £8.5m investment will allow the full build of trains to take place in the UK.
The final assembly, where all components and electrics are fitted, of the entire fleet will take place at Newton Aycliffe.
“Our new trains are really going to make a difference and it’s very exciting,” explained Liam Hockings, Senior Project Manager, New Trains for Avanti West Coast. “Together with our partners Hitachi Rail and Rock Rail West Coast, we will be looking to raise the bar for our customers on the West Coast Main Line route.”
Rock Rail West Coast, a joint venture between Rock Rail and Aberdeen Standard Investment, is financing the new trains and will be leasing them to Avanti West Coast.
The first nine vehicles include a full set from 805001 and four shells from 805002.
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