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Construction of Virgin Azumas begins

VTEC 800101 on the ECML. JACK BOSKETT/RAIL.

Work has started on construction of the Class 800 Azuma fleet, due to enter service on the East Coast Main Line next year.

Work on the bodyshells is taking place in Kasado, Japan, before the trains arrive in the UK to be assembled by Hitachi’s manufacturing team in the North East. Hitachi’s UK train manufacturing team at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, is home to over 900 employees including over 50 apprentices. UK build work on the Virgin Azuma will begin this summer.

The fleet of 65 trains will provide an extra 12,200 seats, and faster journeys will make direct routes to new destinations such as London-Middlesbrough possible, as well as a big increase in through services from London to places such as Bradford, Harrogate and Lincoln.

David Horne, Managing Director of Virgin Trains East Coast, said: “We are very excited to be moving closer to the day when our fantastic new train comes into service. The arrival of Azuma in 2018 will mark another milestone on our journey towards totally transforming travel for our customers, and the work happening now in Kasado and beginning in the summer at Newton Aycliffe are important steps on that journey."

For more on this, read RAIL 827, published on May 24. 

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