At present Avanti West Coast’s fleet is comprised mainly of Alstom’s Pendolino trains.
But from next year it will start taking delivery of £350 million worth of UK-built Hitachi trainsets.
These are now being tested and will be a combination of electric and bi-mode units. They are similar in design (details of onboard accommodation are not yet available) to the Hitachi units operated by other train firms including GWR, LNER and Trans Pennine Express.
The total fleet of 23 units will replace the existing diesel-powered Voyager units which date back to the days of Virgin Trains.
The plan is to use them on routes from London to the West Midlands and Liverpool. The bi-mode trains will operate from London to North Wales.
Says Phil Whittingham, MD of Avanti West Coast, “It’s great to see the new trains taking shape. The investment is a key part of our exciting plans to raise the bar for the UK rail industry.”
Avanti says the new Hitachi trains offer more space and a quieter journey compared to the Voyagers. This will lead to a 61 per cent reduction in carbon emissions.
The Pendolinos will continue to operate over Avanti’s main West Coast Mainline routes. These units are in the process of refurbishment as we reported in April.