Hitachi Rail Europe to provide new trains for Abellio franchise in Scotland

Posted: 10 October 2014 | | 1 comment

Hitachi Rail Europe is delighted that Transport Scotland has announced its intention to award Abellio the new ScotRail franchise…

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Hitachi Rail Europe is delighted that Transport Scotland has announced its intention to award Abellio the new ScotRail franchise. The Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) will be a crucial part of the new franchise, and Abellio has confirmed that Hitachi Rail Europe is its preferred supplier of new rolling stock for the programme, subject to successful conclusion of negotiations.

Andy Barr, Hitachi Rail Europe’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We are delighted that Abellio has selected Hitachi Rail Europe as preferred bidder to supply rolling stock as well as long-term maintenance of our electric trains. This is great news, as it is the first contract for our recently launched AT200 commuter train. These trains will be built at Hitachi’s new Rail Vehicle Manufacturing Facility in Newton Aycliffe, complementing the delivery of the Class 800 and 801 trains for the Intercity Express Programme, boosting jobs and growth in the North East.”

Abellio, a well-known name in the UK rail market, was named franchise operator for the ScotRail franchise on October 8, 2014.  Hitachi Rail Europe will supply Abellio with 70 electric multiple units (EMUs), which will form 46 three-car trains and 24 four-car trains (234 rail cars). These will run on the newly electrified Edinburgh-Glasgow line as well as on the Stirling – Alloa – Dunblane lines. They will be cleared to run throughout the wider network, which is currently being electrified.

A spokesman from Abellio said: “We are delighted at the decision of Transport Scotland to award Abellio the new ScotRail franchise. The new fleet proposal was a major feature in our winning bid, and we look forward now to continuing the negotiations with our preferred supplier Hitachi.”

Hitachi Rail Europe will build a fleet of AT200 commuter trains. A life-size mock-up of this new development was recently presented to the UK and international rail industry. It has been designed to transform the regional commuter travel experience.  With a top speed of 100 miles per hour, each unit is 23 metres in length, and features cab-end and inter-vehicle gangways to facilitate the best use of passenger space. The train has a 35-year design life and is made to complement the requirements as set out by Transport Scotland.  In particular, they place a heavy emphasis on energy efficiency and weight reduction to minimise the impact on the infrastructure.

Andy Barr continued: “For ScotRail, the passenger experience was a particular area of consideration for us. We wanted to ensure that passengers have a pleasant travelling environment with adequate table and toilet facilities, LED lighting and air conditioning as standard. Power sockets and wifi are available throughout the trains, bringing modern comforts to the travelling public. In addition to this, the space underneath our cantilever seats provides room for luggage, which is supplemented by further luggage storage for commuter travel.”

This is the latest contract for Hitachi Rail Europe in the UK. To date, the train manufacturer has delivered the preview service for the Class 395 Javelin™ trains, Britain’s fastest commuter service, to Southeastern six months early.  They remain the most reliable train fleet on Southeastern’s network. The new trains for Scotland further Hitachi’s AT200 range of trains, a custom-designed train for their passengers’ requirements.

Furthermore, Hitachi Rail has implemented new methods of vehicle construction and manufacturing based on its A Train product platform.  These methods will be employed in the construction of the AT200 trains.  In addition to the Class 800/801 trains commissioned for the government’s Intercity Express Programme (IEP), the AT200 trains will be built at Hitachi Rail’s flagship vehicle manufacturing unit in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. The Newton Aycliffe facility will contribute 730 jobs to the local economy. The AT200 trains, run by Abellio, will be in operation from 2017.