FirstGroup and Hitachi Rail signed a GBP 100 million (EUR 115.25 million) contract for the supply of five 5-car new AT300 125mph intercity electric trains. The contract, financed by Beacon Rail, includes maintenance services for 10 years.
The new trains will be deployed on London – Edinburgh route starting Autumn 2021.
The five new trains will offer an additional 400 seats per train on the route and they will be equipped with air conditioning system, Wi-Fi, power sockets, offering new interiors.
FirstGroup has secured ten-year track access rights from the Office of Rail and Road to run a new ‘open access’ service between the two capitals, with the aim of encouraging people to use trains rather than planes. Currently two-thirds of journeys between the two capitals are made by air.
Under the plans, customers will benefit from an average fare of less than £25 (EUR 29), on-board catering and free Wi-Fi, all offered in one high-quality class of travel. FirstGroup already operates an open access service, the award-winning Hull Trains.
“We’re excited to announce the next step to providing our high-quality low fare service for customers linking London and Edinburgh. There’s a real gap in the market for truly affordable rail travel between the two capitals – our plans show we are serious about competing with low-cost airlines and opening up rail travel on this key route to thousands of new passengers,” Steve Montgomery, First Rail’s Managing Director, said.
The transport service will comprise five trains a day each way from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh, via intermediate stations at Stevenage, Newcastle and Morpeth, with journey times of approximately four hours.