First Hitachi bullet train arrives on UK shores ahead of summer testing

The first of 19 Hitachi high-speed bullet trains has arrived in the UK after making a two-month journey from Japan.

The TransPennine Express’s Nova 1 train arrived at the port of Southampton yesterday (12 June) as part of a deal which will see 19 five-carriage trains operating in the north of England and Scotland. Cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, York, Newcastle, and Edinburgh are set to benefit with the trains expected to be on the tracks next year.

The trains will provide 161 additional seats compared to the existing TransPennine Express trains. Each new train will offer fast, free Wi-Fi in both standard and first class as well as complimentary on-board entertainment system, Exstream, allowing customers to stream the latest movies and TV shows during their journey.

Powered by Rolls Royce engines, the hybrid units will switch between electric and diesel power and help reduce harmful emissions by up to 90%. The trains will be able to travel at a maximum speed of 140mph in electric mode and 125mph when using diesel engines.

Commenting on the arrival of the first train, Berry Sas, projects director for Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “Today is another important milestone as we deliver pioneering new trains for millions of passengers in the north and Scotland. We will begin our rigorous test programme in the coming weeks, which I’m sure will excite passengers and enthusiasts along the route.”

A job boost in the UK is also expected as a result of the fleet with more than 30 UK firms being used to supply key components for the trains. The Manchester-based, Lucchini Unipart Rail, is one of these and will be supplying wheelsets that are already used in Italy and Japan. The fleet will support long-term jobs at depots along the route, including Hitachi’s newly built £80m depot in Doncaster.

Director at Port of Southampton, Alastair Welch, said: “We are delighted to welcome these five carriages into the Port of Southampton. While more familiar with the imports and exports of automotive and bulk we were pleased to assist these high-speed locomotives with the next stage in their journey.”  

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