Hitachi engineers have started to build London and North Eastern Railways’ (LNER) new fleet of Azumas at its Newton Aycliffe factory, County Durham.
A contract for the fleet of Class 800s – also known as Intercity Express Trains (IET) – for the East Coast main line was signed between the Department for Transport and Agility Trains (Hitachi Rail Europe and John Laing) in July 2012.
This milestone follows Azuma trains built in Japan being testing on the route.
The first Azuma trains are due to begin carrying passengers later this year along the East Coast main line, connecting London and Yorkshire, and from 2019 running in Scotland.
Hitachi Rail Europe managing director Karen Boswell said: “Newton Aycliffe continues to go from strength to strength, now building three separate fleets to serve passengers across the country.
“Our pioneering Azuma trains, inspired by Japanese bullet trains, will transform journeys on the East Coast main line. By building them at Newton Aycliffe, we are supporting thousands of jobs with a strong British supplier base.”
LNER managing director David Horne added: “Our customers can expect a fleet of high-tech, modern trains that will deliver more seats and space, as well as faster journeys.
“Azuma will play a key role in revolutionising travel on the east coast mainline, delivering first-class service as well as extra services for Bradford, Lincoln, Harrogate and Edinburgh.”