First Group and Hitachi Rail partnership

Posted on 13 Apr 2019 and read 563 times
First Group and Hitachi Rail partnershipA new high-quality low-fare rail link between London and Edinburgh has come a step closer recently, with First Group confirming an order for five new AT300 125mph intercity electric trains and on-going maintenance, following the completion of a £100 million deal for the trains between First Group and Hitachi Rail (financed by Beacon Rail).

First Group has secured rights from the Office of Road and Rail to run a new ‘open-access’ service between the two capitals, with the aim of encouraging people to use trains rather than planes.

Currently two thirds of journeys between the two capitals are made by air. Under the plans, customers will benefit from an average fare of less than £25; First Group already operates one open-access service — Hull Trains.

It is planned that the new service will start in autumn 2021. Hitachi will build the five electric intercity trains of five carriages each — and maintain them for 10 years.

Steve Montgomery, First Rail’s managing director, said: “We’re excited to announce the next step towards providing this service linking London and Edinburgh.

"There’s a real gap in the market for truly affordable rail travel between the two capitals; our plans show we are serious about competing with low-cost airlines and opening up rail travel on this key route to thousands of new passengers.

"The new trains we are introducing will provide the highest levels of comfort and service, while being great for the environment and air quality.”

Hitachi Rail Europe (, which supplied the Javelin HS1 fleet in advance of the 2012 London Olympic Games, is delivering major orders for new trains, with 281 due to be in service by 2021.

Its purpose-built factory in County Durham is delivering 122 new high-speed trains as part of the UK Government’s £5.7 billion Intercity Express Programme — plus a fleet of 70 regional trains for Scotland.

Hitachi Rail is growing rapidly; it employs over 3,000 people and will soon be operational at 15 locations across the UK.

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