Work begins on new TransPennine Express bullet trains

Production of new intercity Japanese Hitachi bullet trains has begun, with 19 five carriage trains planned to be on TransPennine Express routes from 2019.

It is the third fleet being built for the train operator, which the firm says will collectively provide 13m more seats per year. The modern Japanese bullet train inspired fleet is being built by Hitachi and financed by Angel Trains.

From 2019, the fleet will connect major cities in the North of England and Scotland and will run from Manchester and Liverpool, across the Pennines to Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

The trains will be maintained at Hitachi’s newly built £80m 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.

The trains will provide 161 additional seats. Hitachi is using its Japanese-bullet train technology to make the new fleet light and aerodynamic. The 19 trains will all be hybrid, with the ability to switch 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%.

David Hoggarth, director for Rail North, said: “These trains are game-changers. Fast efficient travel on trains fit for purpose will open up rail to new users in the business and leisure sector and is one of the key components required for growing the Northern economy through enhanced connectivity. This is great news for the North and demonstrates that visionary franchise agreements can really deliver.”

Berry Sas, projects director for Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “Millions of journeys along the popular transpennine route will be transformed once these pioneering intercity trains are introduced into service.

“We have invested £80million in a state-of-the-art depot in Doncaster to ensure these new trains are running in top condition for each and every journey.”

TransPennine Express managing director, Leo Goodwin, added: “We are committed to supporting the Northern economy and are pleased that the fleet, which will be maintained at locations across the North and in Scotland will be supporting 250 long-term jobs.”

Malcolm Brown, chief executive at Angel Trains, said: “By procuring, financing and leasing these new bi-mode trains, Angel Trains has demonstrated its commitment to both Northern investment and providing value to customers, bringing improved travel and more jobs to the region.

“We have already invested over £5 billion in the UK rail industry and, working with our partners in the industry, we look forward to continuing to make further significant investments in rolling stock in future.”

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