Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe factory will deliver a new fleet of 23 trains for Avanti West Coast in 2022.
The completion of Intercity Express Programme (IEP) and ScotRail Class 385 EMU orders are on the horizon, and the £350million deal is a further boost for the County Durham facility after securing the contract to supply bi-mode trains to East Midlands Railway in August.
Avanti has ordered 13 five-car bi-mode and 10 seven-car electric trains (135 vehicles) similar in design and specification to the Class 800 and 801s currently being delivered to LNER for East Coast Main Line services.
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They will replace 20 Class 221 ‘Super Voyagers’ (Nos. 221101-118/142/143), allowing AWC to eliminate long-distance diesel working on electrified routes and expand services to more destinations off the 25kV AC network.
Bi-mode sets will be used on the Chester, Holyhead, Shrewsbury, Llandudno and Wrexham/Gobowen routes, while the electric sets are destined for the Blackpool route and AWC’s planned Euston-West Midlands-Liverpool service.
Both types will be maintained by a joint Hitachi/Alstom team at Oxley depot in Wolverhampton.
The bi-mode trains have an ability to operate for much of their journey in electric mode, and will reduce AWC’s carbon dioxide emissions by around 60% by 2022, as well as significantly reducing nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions because of more modern and cleaner diesel power packs.
With 453 seats, the seven-car trains will have a capacity similar to a nine-car Class 390 because of longer, 26-metre vehicles. Each five-car set will have 301 seats, compared to the 258 of a Class 221.
Better, more reliable wi-fi, at-seat wireless charging for mobile devices, plug sockets and USB charging points, a real time passenger information system, and improved catering are also promised.
The trains are being financed by Rock Rail West Coast, a joint venture between Rock Rail and Aberdeen Standard Investments.
For more information, visit https://www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/
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