Azuma Intercity Express Programme trains will be introduced on the London King’s Cross-Leeds route from December.
The same duty also includes a return visit to Hull, and will release the unrefurbished former East Midlands Trains High Speed Train currently used by VTEC (NL65), according to sources.
Speaking exclusively to RAIL, Virgin Trains East Coast Managing Director David Horne said the plan is for nine-car Class 800/1 bi-modes to be introduced into service first, followed by the five-car Class 801/1 electric multiple units, then the Class 800/2 bi-mode units, and finally the nine-car Class 801/2 fleet.
Sources say the first trains will be the 0700 Hull-London King’s Cross, 1105 King’s Cross-Leeds and 1345 return, and the 1718 King’s Cross-Hull, followed by the 2028 Hull-Doncaster.
After that diagram, the next three Azumas will replace three Class 91/Mk 4 duties from late December 2018/early January 2019, according to RAIL sources.
Introducing the Azuma fleet requires the completion of a power supply upgrade in the Doncaster area. This is fully costed and funding is in place.
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