Rail passengers in Hull get first go on a Japanese-style bullet train

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 12 Jun 2018

Rail passengers in Hull are set to become the first in the country to ride on a brand new high-speed inter-city express train.

The first of Virgin Trains' new Azuma fleet are due to start operating in December and the first-ever service is expected to run from Paragon Station.

They will be used on the daily return service between Hull and London currently operated by Virgin which leaves Paragon at 7am.

An Azuma train in Hull's Paragon Station after a recent test run

However, they will be run by the new-look London and North Eastern Railway after the government's decision last month to terminate Virgin's East Coast main line franchise.

All Virgin rolling stock is transferring to LNER as part of the shake-up.

Capable of switching from electric to diesel power, the Hitachi-built trains feature additional luggage space and leg room for passengers along with faster wi-fi.

Hull's 'not getting a fair deal' admits rail minister as pressure mounts to sort out the North's poor service.

Read more: Hull Trains reveals first image of new hi-tech fleet in £60m investment

Faster journey times between Hull and the capital are also promised.

It's the first good news for rail users after a turbulent few weeks which have seen Hull Trains' services hit by a series of breakdowns and timetable changes resulting in slower TransPennine journeys to and from Hull.

Industry sources quoted by Rail magazine say the first ever Azuma will run from Hull to Kings Cross in December when trainspotters are expected to be out in force.

One of the new Azuma trains arriving at Teesport

Azumas will also start running between Kings Cross and Leeds at the same time.

The trains initially going into service here have been built in Japan and were shipped to the UK in March.

Testing has taken place since then, including a trial run to Hull from Doncaster last week.

Hitachi’s UK factory in County Durham will build the remainder of what will eventually be a 65-strong fleet.

Read more: ‘Back to drawing board’ on rail franchise system

Hitachi has also developed a new £80m depot in Doncaster to maintain the new fleet.

Andy Rogers, programme director at Hitachi Rail said: "We are proud to be building a fleet inspired by Japanese bullet-train technology here in the UK.

"Our comprehensive test programme is making great progress with the new trains performing very well on the East Coast main line."

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