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With faster acceleration, shorter journey times and enhanced passenger comfort, Hitachi's brand new, highly advanced Azuma trains started operation across the UK's East Coast Main Line in May 2019.
The 65 trains provide an extra 12,200 seats, and with an expanded timetable, they will increase capacity into London's King's Cross station by 28 percent during peak times. They are operated by London North Eastern Railway (LNER) and have been named "Azuma". Literally translated as “East” in Japanese, Azuma are state-of-the-art Intercity Express trains that are transforming rail travel for passengers between London, northeast England and Scotland. Among the trains' many benefits are lower emissions, more direct services, greater comfort, fast and free Wi-Fi, and of course, faster journey times.
The Azuma trains were built at Hitachi's rail vehicle manufacturing plant in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, in England. Hitachi has a long history of producing top quality, high-speed trains, starting with Japan's Bullet Train in 1964. The new trains reach speeds of 125mph in around 4 minutes 40 seconds, compared to the current time of about 5 minutes 40 seconds (for the electric-powered trains). Another way the Azuma trains make travel easier for passengers is via their traffic-light reservation system for seats: a red light means the seat is reserved; amber means the seat has been reserved somewhere along the journey; and if the light is green, the seat is free through to the train's final destination.