28 MARCH 2016
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Virgin Trains has unveiled the first of its new fleet of trains in a ceremony at King’s Cross attended by Sir Richard Branson. The Virgin Azuma, which the company says is set to revolutionise travel on the East Coast from 2018, will be one of the most advanced trains on the UK’s rail network.
Azuma means “East” in Japanese and the Virgin train pays homage to its lineage and to the East Coast route. The fleet of Virgin Azumas will increase capacity into King’s Cross by 28% at peak times.
While the trains will initially reach speeds of up to 125mph, Virgin Trains has announced the creation of a cross-industry working group, including Network Rail, to investigate the potential for the East Coast route to enable their operation at 140mph.
The new trains will slice up to 22min off East Coast journeys, making 4hr London – Edinburgh journeys and 2hr London – Leeds journeys the norm. New destinations such as Middlesbrough and Huddersfield are possible, as well as a big increase in through services, typically to Harrogate and Lincoln. The trains will have faster and free wi-fi, power sockets for every seat and more overhead luggage space. They will be lighter and more energy efficient, making them some of the most environmentally friendly in the UK. www.virgintrains.co.uk
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