Date for LNER’s Azuma introduction reset to 2019

LNER has confirmed that its Class 800/801 Azuma fleet will not enter traffic this year.

The Hitachi Intercity Express Programme trains had been due to start carrying passengers in December, but that has now been delayed.

LNER told RAIL on October 25, said: “We are introducing them in 2019. The reason is it will give passengers more confidence and we can prepare properly. There are several different issues at the moment, not one specific reason, and we do not want uncertainty.”

A Hitachi spokesman said: “Hitachi remains on track to hand over completed new Azuma trains to LNER in early December, so they can continue their driver and on-board staff training and readiness programme.”

LNER added that the operator was working towards type acceptance for the trains.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has suspended approval of the trains due to the design of the inter-car connectors (RAIL 863) and issues with signalling (RAIL 861). Since August 1, the trains have been unable to operate in electric mode owing to interference with signalling north of York.

  • For the FULL story, including more from LNER and Hitachi, read RAIL 865, published on November 7, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from November 3.

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  • AndrewJG8918 - 26/10/2018 15:48

    Guarantee that the Class 800 and Class 801 Azumas will perhaps start being introduced from March or April next year. Or in mid Summer. As it’s the December deadline for the new LNER trains to enter service has been cancelled. What a shame.

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    • Richard Law - 08/11/2018 13:08

      This is the usual fiasco that constantly happens. It was never "rocket science" to introduce these advanced sets. But, do not inform the customers of the East Coast until late October 2018. Poor customer relations by all parties. We should all complain to L.N.E.R. and Hitachi.

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  • AndrewJG8918 - 27/10/2018 10:54

    Such a shame that LNER won’t allow their new trains to enter service in December. Perhaps they could start using them from early Spring or Summer next year instead.

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