1. ITV Report

New faster trains to operate on Kings Cross to Leeds route

Photo: PA

New trains will begin operating on the East Coast Main Line five months later than planned.

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) announced that its Azuma trains will enter service on May 15.

The Hitachi-built fleet is modelled on the Japanese bullet train and will cut journey times by accelerating faster than existing rolling stock.

Kings Cross Station Credit: PA

It was due to be launched in December 2018 but this was delayed due to a series of issues, including their compatibility with Network Rail's signalling equipment, safety tests, staff training and new timetables.

The announcement of a launch date follows major work to update the rail network's equipment and technology.

The new trains will run from Kings Cross to Leeds Credit: PA

Publicly-owned operator LNER said the trains have been through "rigorous testing" by Hitachi Rail, Network Rail and the Department for Transport.

Azumas will initially be used on the London King's Cross-Leeds route, before being rolled out to the rest of the LNER network, which stretches from London to Inverness and Aberdeen, in the following months.

This is what customers up and down the country have been waiting for and represents a monumental milestone for rail travel.

– David Horne, LNER managing director

The fleet of Azuma trains will eventually reach 65.

They are being built by Hitachi Rail at its factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.