LNER’S introduction of its new Hitachi-built Azuma trains has been hailed as an example of a successful fleet introduction, replacing the operator’s legacy fleet of HSTs and InterCity 225s. Engineering Director John Doughty told the Golden Whistles conference LNER was treating the introduction as an operations and customer experience project, not just an engineering one.

Azumas in service: Nos 801101/103 work the 08.45 Leeds to King’s Cross service at Welwyn North on 23 October 2019. Ken Brunt
Ken Brunt

From the outset the operator worked to engage the whole company in the new fleet introduction, not just the project team. For example, the name Azuma (Japanese for ‘east’) was chosen through a staff competition, and Azuma pioneers from different grades within the company were invited to provide feedback throughout. To help build excitement visits were arranged to Hitachi’s Newton Aycliffe factory, where the majority of the fleet has been built.

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