Hitachi’s state-of-the-art Azuma trainsets were supposed to be in service by now.
But as we reported last year their service entry was delayed until this year.
Now industry magazine RAIL reports that the Azumas are “expected to enter service in the coming weeks.”
The first sets will be bi-mode (electric/diesel powered) and will be deployed on services linking London Kings Cross with Leeds and Hull.
No details are available as to which trains they will operate.
But as with airline practice, TOC (train operator) LNER does not want its new trains to stray too far from its maintenance base (in case of teething issues).
Anglo-Scottish services will follow at a later date.
The bi-mode Azumas are needed for the Hull route because part of the line is not electrified. London-Leeds is electrified throughout.
Azumas will be welcomed by travellers to and from Hull. Why? Because local TOC Hull Trains has a poor reputation for reliability.
In 2018 Hull Trains was the worst TOC for rail punctuality according to figures released by government body ORR (Office of Rail and Road).
Just 68.8 per cent of its trains were punctual thanks mainly to its fleet of elderly trainsets. New trains are on order for Hull Trains but they will not be in service for many months.