EMR bi-mode specification confirmed

The new bi-mode units East Midlands Railway is procuring from Hitachi will be a variant on its AT300 platform with features specific to EMR. A fleet of 33×5-car sets has been ordered from Hitachi, financed by Rock Rail, and these are due to enter service between April and December 2022. The sets have been dubbed AT300 SXR, the SXR standing for ‘short, extended range’, in recognition of the shorter vehicles of around 24-metre length and the need to match the performance of Class 222 Meridians in diesel mode. Modifications to the standard AT300 design introduced by other operators include the shorter vehicles, with a revised front-end nose to accommodate this, although the cab design will be the same. Each five-car set will provide over 300 seats across first and standard class, nearly matching the capacity of a seven-car Class 222. In the nearer-term, EMR is replacing its nine 2+8 HSTs with nine sets transferred from LNER which have a lesser degree of non-compliance with Persons with Reduced Mobility (PRM) regulations. The first LNER set is likely to enter service early in the New Year, with the changeover completed by late spring. For more on this story see the January 2020 issue of Modern Railways.