LNER ‘Azuma’ launch on hold

PLANS by LNER to launch the new Class 800/801 ‘Azuma’ trains from the December timetable change have been shelved for the time being.

The projected start of services has been hampered by several problems with the new trains, the key issue being electromagnetic interference from the trains impacting on signalling equipment.

The first IEP to carry the new LNER livery – No. 800103 – races south through Biggleswade on October 24 with a Doncaster IEP depot to King’s Cross proving run. ALISDAIR ANDERSON

The problem persists north of Colton Junction, York, and the delay will mean the new trains will not begin passenger service until sometime in 2019.

It has been estimated more than 250 signals require interference suppression equipment to be retro-fitted.

An additional safety issue has also arisen from concerns over the design of the connecting cables between carriages which, it has been suggested, could be used by a person to access the roof of the trains and so bring them into contact with the 25kV overhead supply. As a result, the Office of Rail and Road has stopped approving more units for use until further notice.

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