Yorkshire.guide special report  January 3, 2018

New trains for Yorkshire

Following another above-inflation rise in rail fares, putting our fares way ahead of most of those in Europe, we take a look at what can be expected in terms of investment in new trains in Yorkshire in 2018.

Virgin Trains East Coast is already testing its new Hitachi Super Express trains which the company has named Azuma.

The first of the 65-strong fleet of trains is expected to come into service in December this year. The trains will travel through Yorkshire via York and Doncaster on their way from Scotland to London.

Hitachi is assembling new trains for the fleet at Newton Aycliffe in County Durham.

Two similar types of the train will be introduced, Class 800 trains which are bi-mode and capable of running on electric or diesel power, and Class 801 which are electric only trains. Each type will have nine-car and five-car formations.

While the trains are capable of a top speed of 140mph when in electric operation, the highest speeds allowed on the best of the tracks they will run on is currently only 125mph.

Picture: An Azuma train on the East Coast Main Line near York.

On TransPennine Express, a programme of refurbishing the main fleet of Siemens Class 185 diesel trains is due to be completed later this year. The three-car units have been widely used on journeys across Yorkshire since their introduction in 2006 and are capable of up to 100mph where the line allows.

This year should also see the introduction of some new diesel locomotive-hauled trains by TransPennine Express which will operate through Yorkshire. Some 13 five-carriage sets of coaches are being built by CAF in Spain and are initially due to be put into operation between Liverpool, Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds, York and Middlesbrough. The carriages will be pulled by Vossloh Class 68 locomotives, a type which has been introduced since 2013 for use on both passenger and freight trains with a top speed of 100mph.

Work has also started recently to build a new fleet of Hitachi bi-mode trains which TransPennine Express is due to operate in Yorkshire from next year.

Although the new Class 802 trains will not start to come into service until December 2019, two test trains currently being built by Hitachi in Japan are expected to be in action ahead of that date.

There will eventually be 19 five-carriage trains in service which which will provide the service from Liverpool and Manchester, through Huddersfield, Leeds and York to Newcastle and Edinburgh.

The trains will be maintained at Hitachi's new £80m depot in Doncaster.

All the new Hitachi trains for TransPennine Express will be hybrid, able to switch mid-journey from electric to diesel power. If track speed limits allowed the trains' maximum, they would be capable of operating at 140mph on electric, reducing to 125mph as diesels.

They are similar to the bi-mode trains being introduced on the East Coast Main Line, but will have engines with a higher power output and bigger diesel tanks to cope with gradients and lack of electrification on parts of their route.

Picture: A refurbished Class 185 train.
Picture: A Class 68 lomotive of the type which will be used to haul new Spanish-built carriages.
Picture: Hitachi building a new train for TransPennine Express (Cropped from Hitachi original CC BY 3.0).

Northern has also been refurbishing trains. Some of these trains have been arriving in the region from other parts of the country, principally Class 150 Sprinter diesel units.

Built in York between 1984 and 1987, the units are of a similar age but of a higher original specification than the bus-like Pacer trains they will eventually replace. Northern plans to refurbish all of its continuing fleet of trains by 2020.

Northern should also have some new trains starting to arrive by the end of 2018.

The company is promising, by 2020, a total of 98 of the new 100mph trains. These are being built at the CAF factory in Spain.

Some 43 will be built as Class 331 three and four coach electric trains and 55 as Class 195 two and three coach diesels.

After the build in Spain and testing in the Czech Republic, the first train could arrive in the UK this spring, but is not likely to be in service before the end of the year.

Picture: A Northern refurbished Sprinter train.

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