Published on : Monday, August 21, 2017
The Japanese word for “East”, Azuma is a homage to Japanese bullet train technology. The vehicle is able to accelerate faster than existing trains on the network.
The trip was a test run by manufacturer Hitachi prior to the roll-out of the new 65-strong fleet which will run on Virgin Trains’ east coast route next year.
Virgin Trains have plans to reduce the regular journey times down to four hours which will help to augment the capacity out of Kings Cross by 28 per cent at peak times.
The Azuma is a nine-car bi-mode train capable of travelling on both electric and diesel power. The trains are being built at Hitachi’s facility in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
Scotland’s Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, said in a statement about the test run, “Making rail an attractive alternative is an ideal way to encourage more people out of their cars and onto greener transport. This new fleet of trains serving stations all across the north and east of the country offer more opportunities for passengers to travel by rail in the future.”
David Horne, Virgin Trains’ MD on the east coast route, said: “The Virgin Azuma will deliver a step-change in services between Scotland and England, taking regular journeys down to just four hours. Having the train visit Scotland for the first time as part of testing is a really important moment and reminds us of the excitement it will bring to UK train travel when it is introduced into service.”