The Class 800 Super Express is a type of electro-diesel train used in the United Kingdom, based on the Hitachi A-train design. They have been built by Hitachi since 2015. The first units entered service on the Great Western Main Line (GWML) in October 2017, and will enter service on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) from December 2018.
These trains are being assembled at the Hitachi Newton Aycliffe facility, alongside the related Class 801 electric multiple unit, from bodyshells shipped from the Kasado plant in Japan; no body construction takes place in the UK.
The Class 800 units are known as IETs (Intercity Express Trains), as part of the Intercity Express Programme (IEP). They have been named Azuma, meaning East in Japanese, by future operator Virgin Trains East Coast.
As part of the UK Government's Intercity Express Programme (IEP), the Class 800 units are to be partial replacements for the aging InterCity 125 trains which currently operate services on the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line. The Class 800s are a mixture of electric and electro-diesel multiple units, with the electro-diesel ones being able to draw power from electrified overhead lines where available or power themselves via underfloor diesel generators when outside the electrified network. The train specification requires that this changeover can occur at line speed. Units built for the East Coast Main Line will be primarily electric, while all units built for the Great Western Main Line will be electro-diesel, with the possibility to be converted to electric-only operation by removal of the diesel engines.
The Class 800s are capable of driver only operation when necessary, but guards are to be kept on the units. Door release will be controlled by the drivers, with the guard being responsible for closing them using the control panels in the vestibule area. The driver will then carry out a secondary check of the side of the train before departure using the in-cab television monitors.
|Class||Operator||No. Built||Year Built||Cars per Set||Unit nos.|
|Class 800/1||Virgin Trains East Coast||1||2015||9||800101|
In March 2016, Virgin Trains East Coast announced that its trains would carry the brand name Azuma, the Japanese word for "East". In June 2016, GWR announced that its trains would be known as Intercity Express Trains.
In July 2016, it was revealed that GWR's intended fleet of Class 801 units were to be converted from pure EMU to bi-mode due to delays in the electrification. Subsequently, these were reclassified as Class 800/3. The original 1.35 m3 (48 cu ft) fuel tanks will also be replaced with larger capacity 1.55 m3 (55 cu ft) tanks.
On 30 June 2016, GWR's test unit (800004) ran from Reading to London Paddington carrying invited dignitaries.
GWR unit 800003 was named Queen Elizabeth II by the monarch herself, in a ceremony at Paddington Station on 14 June 2017. The Queen had arrived at Paddington on the unit, travelling from Slough on the 175th anniversary of the first ever train journey by a reigning monarch, made on the same route by Queen Victoria. The name is carried in the form of a decal, rather than the more traditional cast metal plate; the name Queen Victoria is borne on the other end of the unit
On 10 January 2018, unit 800010 was named Michael Bond in a ceremony at Paddington by his daughter, Karen Jankel. This coincided with the 60th anniversary of the late author's famous Paddington Bear series of children's books, and as such, the other end of the unit bears the bear's name.
The Class 800 trains came into service on the Great Western Main Line on the 16 October 2017. Teething problems surfaced on the inaugural service, with the train running late and an air conditioning unit discharging water into a carriage. Following further problems, the units were withdrawn from service for one day on 19 October, then re-entered service the next day.
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Despite being underfloor, the generator units (GU) have diesel engines of V12 formation. The Class 801 has one GU for a 5-9 car set. These provide emergency power for limited traction and auxiliaries if the power supply from the overhead line fails. The class 800/802 electro-diesel or Bi-Mode has 3 GU per five car set and 5 GU per nine car set. A 5 car set has a GU situated under vehicles 2/3/4 respectively and a 9 car set has a GU situated under vehicles 2/3/5/7/8 respectively .
new InterCity Express Trains will provide us for the first time with a regular hourly service between Worcester and London
and services on the Cotswold line
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