Avanti West Coast First Body Shells Arrive in UK

The first train body shells for Avanti West Coast’s new fleet have arrived in the UK.

The first nine body shells that Avanti West Coast (FirstGroup and Trenitalia) will run on the West Coast Partnership franchise have arrived in the UK. The new fleet is being manufactured by Hitachi Rail.

Hitachi Class 805 bodyshell in Southampton
Hitachi Class 805 body shell in Southampton

The new fleet, which will consist of 13 five-car Class 805 bi-mode multiple units and 10 seven-car Class 807 electric multiple units, will enter service on the West Coast Main Line in 2022, replacing the current diesel-powered Bombardier Super Voyagers.

The aluminium shells were shipped from Hitachi’s Kasado factory in Japan to Southampton, from where they will be transported north to Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe site, where the train building work will commence later in 2020.

Class 805 bodyshell in the factory in Japan
Class 805 body shell in the factory in Japan

Of the 135 body shells making up the new fleet, 56 will be fully welded together in England, rather than being shipped from Japan. 8.5 million GBP is flowing into Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe site to ready it for full train manufacturing. The final assembly for the whole fleet, meaning the fitting of components and electrics, will take place at Newton Aycliffe.

Liam Hockings, Senior Project Manager, New Trains, Avanti West Coast, said:

“Our new trains are really going to make a difference and it’s very exciting. Together with our partners Hitachi Rail and Rock Rail West Coast, we will be looking to raise the bar for our customers on the West Coast Main Line route.”

The nine body shells that have arrived are for the units 805001 (all five cars) and 805002 (four cars).

The financing party is Rock Rail West Coast, a joint venture between Rock Rail and Aberdeen Standard Investments. Avanti West Coast will lease them.

Avanti West Coast has has a fleet of 56 Alstom Pendolinos, which it will retrain and refurbish.

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