What is the Azuma train?

The North East's engineering talent will be showcased on the east coast mainline, as London North Eastern Railway's new Azuma train will take passengers for the first time today.

Assembled at the Hitachi factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, the new trains use Japanese bullet train technology, using parts supplied from our region.

Azuma trains will carry passengers on the east coast mainline from tomorrow Credit: ITV News
  • What is an Azuma?

Azuma means “east” in Japanese.

  • How long did it take to build?

Work started back in 2017, but the project was hit by delays and won't actually be in service in the North East for a while yet, because of signalling interference.

The Hitachi East Durham plant is only 4 years old, and members of staff started working there with no experience of building trains.

Half of the Azuma fleet is in service, the other half still being manufactured by a thousand-strong workforce in Newton Aycliffe.

Hitachi has also spent a billion pounds in giving supply contracts to more than 1,000 North East firms.

The facts:

There'll be an increase of fleet from 45 to 65 trains, meaning more than 6,000 more seats will be available every day.

The trains are a diesel-electric hybrid. This “bi-mode” technology will make them more resilient during disruption, making journeys smoother, quieter and more reliable, according to LNER.

  • What's different about travelling on an Azuma train?

Standard Class:

An extra 7cms of leg-room

More overhead and under-seat luggage space

A power socket for every seat throughout the train

Electronic seat reservations to help you find your seat

Improved Wi-Fi

Window blinds in every carriage

First Class:

Seats are wider and reclining with generous leg-room and larger tables for laptops

Faster Wi-Fi

Power sockets and USB charging points at every seat

Complimentary two-course meal for lunch and dinner, plus a breakfast menu

Azuma trains will travel to Leeds, Wakefield, Doncaster, Peterborough and London. Other stations will be added throughout 2019.