Hitachi wins order to build new TransPennine Express trains

A day before taking control of the new TransPennine Express franchise, FirstGroup placed an order for new trains with the Japanese manufacturer Hitachi.

A FirstGroup spokesman informed 21CR that the deal (excluding maintenance) is worth £230m and is being financed by the rolling stock company Angel Trains. 19 five-car bi-modal train sets (95 carriages) will be delivered from December 2019.

The new trains are based on Hitachi’s AT300 model and have a maximum service speed of 125mph though are capable of 140mph.

The first units will be completed at Hitachi’s Kasado Works in Japan, but the rest will be assembled at the company’s Newton Aycliffe plant in County Durham. Each train will provide 161 more seats than TPE’s flagship three-car Class 185 sets now in service.

In order to cope with steeper northern gradients the new trains will have more engine power than the bimodal Class 800s (which Hitachi is also supplying).

Hitachi will also be responsible for servicing the new trains, and half the existing TPE Class 185 fleet is to undergo a £25m refurbishment.

The news follows Arriva Northern’s recent decision to acquire 281 new carriages from Spanish manufacturer CAF; they will also enter service from December 2019.

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