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VTEC confirms December 2018 start date for Azumas

800101 at Marholm, near Peterborough. JOHN RUDD.

Virgin Trains East Coast Managing Director David Horne has confirmed to RAIL that the first passenger services to be operated by its new Azuma fleet will commence in December 2018.

Although VTEC had previously committed to bringing the Hitachi-built trains into traffic during 2018, this is the first time that a specific month has been officially confirmed by the operator. 

In an exclusive interview with RAIL, Horne said that VTEC plans to take delivery of its first four Azumas from Hitachi in November 2018, with two initially made available for service.

Discussions are still ongoing to establish on which route and the exact date the first Azuma services will be launched.

  • For more on this EXCLUSIVE, read RAIL 837, published on October 11, or available now on Android and iPad.

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  • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 09/10/2017 13:39

    Why December 2018? Can’t these Azuma trains start passenger service from June or July 2018? That’s still a long way off.

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    • FrankH - 09/10/2017 19:50

      They would if they could Andrew but they only get them in November 2018.

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  • FrankH - 09/10/2017 21:01

    Regardless of when they enter service it seems an expensive way to save a maximum of 22 minutes on journey times. On top of that the OHL power supply has had to be upgraded from Wood Green London to Bawtry near Doncaster for the Azumas. They are faster but at what cost.

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    • BigTone - 10/10/2017 14:21

      FrankH, I think the problem with the OHLE is that the electrification was done on the cheap. I remember Mrs Thatcher approving the electrification but saying that BR would have to fund it themselves. Another thing is that there will be more trains running on electric than before. I saw a new sub station being built next to the existing sub station at the site of Bawtry station a month or so ago.

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      • FrankH - 11/10/2017 22:11

        Same as the WCML north of crewe in the early 70's, cheap and not so cheerful. I read NR are struggling with the power supply over the fells (shap), When a certain heavy freight train uses it there's not enough power in the wires for the passenger trains (it needs time to get back to full voltage) and thy're asking the freight company to lighten the load so the locos use less power. It's a good job the ECML freight is diesel hauled mostly or there would be serious problems. Around the area near the new Hitachi depot at Doncaster NR are having to triple the existing power supply to cope.

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  • V Beige - 12/10/2017 00:54

    Perhaps Mr Gwilt if you bothered to read the article you will of seen that Virgin East Coasts Azuma fleet wont even start to be delivered until November of 2018. So how exactly can they run trains that wont be fully built, enough of your inane wittering, thogh we should be thankful its not the usual WIkipedia cut and paste gen you normally bore everyone with

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  • FrankH - 17/10/2017 20:35

    I bet VTEC are happy that any problems with the bi modes will be found and rectified by the time they introduce them. GWR are a proving ground for them.

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