Hitachi Rail has commenced the construction of the five 5-car electric East Coast Trains at its Newton Aycliffe factory in the UK.
The five fully electric East Coast Trains, known as Class 803 trainset will enter operation from autumn 2021 on the railway route between Edinburgh and London. The new trains will offer passengers a high quality, cost effective and more sustainable alternative to flying between two of the UK’s capital cities.
The manufacturer will invest GBP 8.5 million (EUR 9.4 million) in its welding and painting facilities at Newton Aycliffe factory as it plans to build more intercity orders this year.
“Building these East Coast Trains signifies a new and exciting chapter for Hitachi Rail’s UK factory. It is an important step as we increase our manufacturing capabilities and upskill our workforce at Newton Aycliffe, which includes a £8.5m investment in new welding and painting facilities,” said Ross Nagle, COO Rolling Stock UK at Hitachi Rail.
The construction of the new intercity trains the East Coast Trains incorporates a more extensive manufacturing programme than previous fleets. The increased scope will see the highly skilled workforce create a new state-of-art fleet from empty aluminium shells. “The increased skills of our workforce makes us well placed to deliver a number of highly significant orders over the next 12 months, and consolidate our place as a strategic North East manufacturing hub,” Ross Nagle explained.
The five EMUs, which were ordered in 2019, are funded by Beacon Rail Leasing which signed with Hitachi Rail a GBP 100 million (EUR 110.44 million) contract.
The new EMUs are able to run at speeds of 200 km/h. They will be leased to First Group subsidiary East Coast Trains Ltd. The trains are configured with a single class of accommodation with on board catering, at seat power sockets and free WiFi.