Ahead of the launch of Anglo-Scottish Azuma services from August 1, LNER 800113 became the first of the Hitachi-built trains to carry passengers north of York, when it operated a VIP special to Darlington on July 30.
The nine-car bi-mode Class 800/1 left York at 1058, after a ceremony that included posing record-setting ‘A4’ steam locomotive 4468 Mallard alongside the Azuma.
The new trains will begin serving York from August 1, when the 1106 King’s Cross-York and 1402 return will become an ‘800’ duty.
LNER Managing Director David Horne said: “This week marks a new turning point for rail travel in Britain, with LNER’s Azuma trains launching on our iconic route, connecting the region with Scotland and London.
“Azuma is a great example of how we are transforming rail travel, much in the same way our predecessors have done whether that be through the likes of the ‘A4s’, ‘Deltics’, High Speed Trains or Class 91s. They’ve all been great trains that have served LNER customers well over the years, and Azuma now continues that proud tradition of setting new standards in rail travel.”
When the ‘800/1’ arrived at Darlington, it was met by ‘A3’ 4-6-2 60103 Flying Scotsman, as LNER sought to celebrate the railway’s past and future.
The operator will introduce the ‘800s’ on its Anglo-Scottish services beginning on August 1, when they operate the ‘Flying Scotsman’ service, leaving Edinburgh Waverley at 0540 and returning north at 1730.
Azumas began operating on the London-Leeds route from May 15.
For the FULL story, read RAIL 885, published on August 14, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from August 10.