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Work begins on 'pioneering' Virgin Trains fleet for East Coast line

Virgin Trains Azuma Credit: PA

Manufacturing work has begun on 65 new trains for the East Coast main line.

Virgin Trains' Azuma fleet will provide an extra 12,200 seats, increasing capacity into London King's Cross by 28% during peak times.

Work on the body shells has begun in Kasado, Japan, before the trains arrive in the UK to be built at Hitachi's factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, from this summer.

Up to 22 minutes will be sliced off East Coast journeys as they will accelerate from 0-125mph around a minute quicker than current trains.

Virgin Trains East Coast managing director David Horne said:

The arrival of Azuma in 2018 will mark another milestone on our journey towards totally transforming travel for our customers, and the work happening now in Kasado and beginning in the summer at Newton Aycliffe are important steps on that journey.

– Virgin Trains East Coast, David Horne

Hitachi Rail Europe managing director Karen Boswell said:

The new Azuma fleet will be a combination of Japanese design and British manufacturing. The trains are built using Japanese bullet train technology, world famous for its quality and reliability.

– Hitachi Rail Europe, Karen Boswell