A new train has travelled from London to Edinburgh in four hours – shaving 22 minutes off the current journey time.
The high-speed train is named Azuma, the Japanese word for “East”, in homage to Japanese bullet train technology and the coast on which it will operate. The vehicle is able to accelerate faster than existing trains on the network.
The trip was a test run by manufacturer Hitachi prior to the roll-out of the new 65-strong fleet which will run on Virgin Trains’ east coast route next year.
Virgin Trains plans to bring regular journey times down to four hours and will boost capacity out of Kings Cross by 28 per cent at peak times.
The Azuma is a nine-car bi-mode train capable of travelling on both electric and diesel power. The trains are being built at Hitachi’s facility in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
Scotland’s Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, welcomed the test run. He said: “Making rail an attractive alternative is an ideal way to encourage more people out of their cars and onto greener transport. This new fleet of trains serving stations all across the north and east of the country offer more opportunities for passengers to travel by rail in the future.”
David Horne, Virgin Trains’ MD on the east coast route, said: “The Virgin Azuma will deliver a step-change in services between Scotland and England, taking regular journeys down to just four hours. Having the train visit Scotland for the first time as part of testing is a really important moment and reminds us of the excitement it will bring to UK train travel when it is introduced into service.”
Karen Boswell, MD at Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “Passengers and enthusiasts in Scotland will be seeing more of the Azuma trains in the coming months as part of our rigorous test programme. Our UK-built fleet harnesses world famous Japanese bullet train technology, giving passengers on the east coast main line the very best in quality and reliability.”
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