LNER are pleased to announce that the first of the new Azuma trains has entered service, delivering more seats and services, and a better experience for customers on the East Coast route.
The first Azuma trains will serve the London to Leeds route from 15th May and the London to Hull route from 16th May. Azuma trains will be then introduced in a phased programme throughout the remainder of 2019 and 2020.
The new trains will transform travel with 11,511 more seats across the fleet, as well as extra leg-room and storage space. Passengers will also experience improved WiFi, better catering options and benefit from greater accessibility. The onboard environment offers significant improvements for passengers with disabilities compared to the current fleet, with both audio and visual announcements and universally accessible toilets on all trains, as well as increased wheelchair spaces and unreserved priority seats.
Azuma trains’ unique inbuilt technology will help to ensure they’re more resilient during disruption, and their benefits extend beyond passengers, with more technologically-advanced engines reducing emissions and noise, improving the environment at stations and for communities along the East Coast route.
It is a source of pride for all our organisations that this fleet is built in the North East, with suppliers from across the North and elsewhere in the country. Azumas have provided a significant boost to the local economy – Hitachi Rail’s train factory in County Durham employs more than 700 people, and 70 per cent of parts fitted on the Azuma trains are sourced from within a 40-mile radius of the site, supporting thousands of jobs in the UK supply chain.
Benefits from the investment will be felt across the wider country, with £1 billion spent with British businesses, and upgrades to Hitachi sites spanning London to the Highlands.
Azuma trains represent the biggest transformation on our route in more than 30 years and mark a collaborative industry effort that is about more than new trains.
To support their roll out, substantial work has taken place across the East Coast route to update infrastructure and stations to enable the faster, more frequent journeys the trains can deliver.
The introduction of Azuma trains into service is a major milestone in LNER’s history, which has been achieved through the hard work and joint efforts of the many dedicated people in respective organisations.