New rail fleet
Azumas usher in new era in high speed Anglo-Scottish rail travel
New era: LNER’s new trains
The first of a new fleet of high speed Azuma trains will depart Edinburgh Waverley early on Thursday promising greater comfort and quicker journeys.
Initially there will be just one daily service per day but by the end of September there will be up to eight Azuma services between Scotland and England.
These will include one linking London King’s Cross with Glasgow Central (via Edinburgh) from 23 September. There will be an Azuma service linking King’s Cross with Aberdeen and Inverness by the end of this year.
Most lines north of Edinburgh are not electrified through to Aberdeen and Inverness which means that these two routes will be operated by the bi-mode Azumas which use electric and diesel power. However, it also means that stations such as Stirling, Gleneagles, Perth and Dundee will gain the Azuma service.
The 5.40 am leaving Edinburgh on Thursday will arrive into London King’s Cross four hours later, shaving 22 minutes from the current journey time. The return journey departs at 1730, taking four hours and 40 minutes.
The trains were built at Hitachi’s plant in County Durham as part of a £5.7bn contact and each set includes 100 extra seats, as well as more legroom, plug-points and better WiFi. They’ve been running from London to Leeds since May. They will boost capacity out of Kings Cross by 28% at peak times.
The new trains will be more reliable than old models and are able to accelerate faster than existing trains on the network. They will be quieter and reduce emissions by 90%.
Their arrival was announced in 2016 but their introduction was delayed from the initial December launch date due to issues including compatibility with rail network technology. It is expected that 65 Azumas will replace the 45-train fleet by the summer of 2020.
LNER managing director David Horne said the Azumas represented “a real transformation for travel on the LNER route”.
He said: “Each of our Azuma trains has around 100 extra seats compared to our existing trains, and that’s so important because the number of people using the rail network has grown significantly over the years, so we need to keep pace with that.
“Also I think people will notice just how much quicker Azuma is, they’ll notice it’s got state-of-the-art WiFi, combined with the great service from our team on board.”