Wednesday, 2 August 2023

Avanti West Coast’s New Hitachi Class 805 Bi-Mode Makes First Test Run To North Wales

Avanti West Coast’s new Hitachi-made fleet marked another major milestone with its first journey to North Wales as part of its rigorous test programme.

Two Class 805 bi-mode trains – capable of running on both electric and diesel power -travelled from the West Midlands to Llandudno Junction, before heading back to the depot.

The class 805 units on test  in North Wales ©Terry Eyres 

This first stage of testing is being undertaken by Hitachi Rail to ensure the sets work to the best of their ability before being handed over to Avanti West Coast to operate them.

Further trips to North Wales are planned as the engineers check the fleet’s compatibility with the route and its whole infrastructure, including to the port terminus of Caergybi/Holyhead.

Part of the testing was to ensure the bilingual Passenger Information Systems are displaying the correct information. Avanti West Coast provides on-board passenger information in Welsh and English throughout the journey to and from London.

The new trains are expected to enter service across Avanti West Coast network from 2023. These sets will eventually replace the Voyager trains, lowering the amount of diesel used by only utilising the fuel when there are no overhead wires to supply electricity.

The £350m project will deliver a fleet of ten seven-carriage electric trains and 13 five-carriage bi-mode trains, with the ability to switch seamlessly between electric and diesel power. 
The all electric trains (Class 807) will operate between London, the West Midlands and Liverpool while the bi-mode version (Class 805) will be focused on the London to North Wales route.

Phil Cameron, Commercial Projects Director at First Rail said: “Yesterday marked a major milestone for the new fleet with its first test run to Llandudno Junction. This will help provide vital information on the route, and the fleet’s performance, to ensure the new trains are fully prepared for when they enter into service next year.

“Our investment in the new fleet will help raise the bar for rail travellers in North Wales and is part of our wider commitment to transform the customer experience and a more sustainable operation.”

The 805's have been tested on the West Coast mainline. See previous posting here