Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd. has been named the preferred supplier of 29 trains for a key intercity route operated by First Great Western in the southwest of England, Hitachi Ltd. said March 23.
The deal with FirstGroup, owner of First Great Western, is subject to approval by the Department of Transport, which is expected to make its decision in June.
The fleet of 29 bi-mode AT300 trains would run primarily from London Paddington to Plymouth and Penzance, replacing 40-year-old high-speed trains on the route.
Consisting of seven nine-car and 22 five-car trains, with an option for 30 more, the mixed fleet would allow for 10-car formations for through-services to and from the capital.
The AT300 trains, a train platform developed by Hitachi Rail, a subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., will be closely related to the Class 800 bi-mode trains designed for the Department of Transport’s Intercity Express Program. But they will use higher engine operating power to cope with the gradients in Devon and Cornwall.
They will run as electric trains between London and Newbury, and are equipped with bigger fuel tanks to cater for the long-distance journeys to Plymouth and Penzance.
“Today’s announcement cements our already strong relationship with FirstGroup, and we are looking forward to working closely to progress negotiations and start building the trains, ready for use in the southwest of England from 2018 onwards,” Andy Barr, chief operating officer of Hitachi Rail Europe, said in a statement.