Four generations of trains travel side by side on ECML in world first

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L-R: The Flying Scotsman, Virgin Trains’ new Azuma, the Intercity 225 and an HST Intercity 125. Credit: David Parry/PA Wire.
L-R: The Flying Scotsman, Virgin Trains’ new Azuma, the Intercity 225 and an HST Intercity 125. Credit: David Parry/PA Wire.

Railway enthusiasts enjoyed a historical first over the weekend as four generations of trains travelled side by side on the East Coast main line.

The Flying Scotsman was joined by Virgin’s new Azuma Class 800, an Intercity 225 and an HST Intercity 125 in making the journey – unusually all in one direction on the four adjacent tracks – from Tollerton, North Yorkshire, to York station on April 23.

Although not featured in the main line up, a Class 55 Deltic – the locomotive class which preceded the HST on the London-Edinburgh route – hauled the Flying Scotsman into place.

Showcasing the past, present and future of train travel, the event had been organised to promote the new Azuma trains which are being built by Hitachi and will enter service on the line in 2018.

According to Virgin, the new Azumas can accelerate from 0-125mph one minute quicker than the current HST Intercity 125.

L-R: The Flying Scotsman, Virgin Trains’ new Azuma, the Intercity 225 and an HST Intercity 125. Credit: David Parry/PA Wire.

Faster journeys will mean more services from London to Bradford, Harrogate and Lincoln and make direct routes to new destinations such as London to Middlesbrough possible.

The event was organised by Virgin Trains, the National Railway Museum, Network Rail, Welcome to Yorkshire and Hitachi.

Rob McIntosh, managing director for Network Rail on the London North Eastern and East Midlands route, said: “The East Coast main line and its long heritage is uniquely placed to have run these four historic trains from four different generations side by side.

“This was a long-standing vision for both myself and our industry partners and that vision has become a reality, creating a wonderful occasion to help us celebrate our proud rail heritage as well as the ongoing success of Britain’s railways.

“To have achieved this truly special, once in a generation event with the eyes of the world watching – and to have not caused any disruption to regular rail passengers – makes me immensely proud to have helped to make a moment in railway history.”

3 COMMENTS

  1. Interesting selection for comparison. How does the acceleration of a zoomer compare to an IC225? … and is the figure used under diesel or electric power? … the studied vagueness of the soundbite does not engender positivity. I think we should be told.

    • Hi William,

      I don’t know the IC225 comparison to hand but I’m told that the Azuma will accelerate from 0 to 125mph one minute quicker than the HST Intercity 125 under both electric and diesel power.

      • Ah, that’s interesting (and good!). The performance off-grid is the contentious point … I’ve read and heard (unsubstantiated!) rumours that under diesel power the testing on the GWR has found their trains to be slower than HSTs — I hope that you’re right and they are in fact faster even when running in 19th century mode 😉 … this side-by-side running would have been an ideal opportunity for a race from a standing start, an opportunity missed! 😉

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