Beacon Rail Leasing have agreed the final details of the order for five 200km/h Hitachi AT 300 electric trainsets which will be leased to First Group subsidiary East Coast Trains Ltd who has secured a 10 year track access agreement for services between London and Edinburgh due to start in autumn 2021.
The contract for the five, 200kph, five coach trainsets, including a 10 year maintenance agreement with Hitachi has a deal value in the region of £100m and are configured with a single class of accommodation with on board catering, at seat power sockets and free WiFi.
East Coast Trains will operate five services a day in each direction between London King's Cross and Edinburgh calling at Stevenage, Durham, Newcastle and Morpeth.
FirstGroup intends to compete with existing rail, coach and air services on the London-Edinburgh route by offering tickets with an average fare price of £25 and free Wi-Fi connectivity for all passengers.
The first out of five 5-car EMUs for FirstGroup, to be used for the open-access London – Edinburgh service, has arrived at Hitachi Rail’s Newton Aycliffe production plant, just south of Newcastle. It comes from Japan, where Hitachi does the bodywork.
The new trains will be similar to Hull Trains’ new Paragon fleet, but will not have diesel capability, and, reflecting the low cost ethos of the London – Edinburgh service, they will only contain standard class accommodation.
Keith Howard CEO of Beacon Rail Leasing commented; “We are delighted to be working with both First Group and Hitachi on this project. These are the first new electric intercity trainsets acquired by Beacon and demonstrates our ability to operate across all sections of the rail industry both in the UK and continental Europe”.