One of Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe-built Azuma train carried passengers on the East Coast Main Line for the first time this week.
The new Intercity Expresses should have started running last December, but the already postponed launch was further delayed by continuing problems with electromagnetic interference, which affected signalling and safety-critical CCTV systems.
The problems have now been resolved on part of the East Coast Main Line, and the first Azuma entered service on Wednesday by working the 11.03am from London King’s Cross to Leeds, returning to London from West Yorkshire at 1.45pm.
No date has been set for introducing the new trains on the section between Edinburgh and Doncaster, but LNER is hoping it can start running them on services to Newcastle and Scotland by the end of the year.
The Azumas have better acceleration than the trains they are replacing, but a full timetable taking advantage of this is not expected to start before December 2020.
LNER managing director David Horne said: “The launch of the first Azuma trains is a truly momentous event for LNER and the communities that we serve.