The train is one of the most advanced on the British network and will complete the journey in just four hours. The 65 trains will provide over 12,000 seats for a new and expanded timetable which according to Virgin will increase the capacity into King’s Cross by more than a quarter at peak times.
Initially the top speed during the journey will be 125mph. However Virgin Trains have set-up a cross-industry working group, to see if it is possible for the East Coast route to have a 140mph top speed. Azumas could slice 22 minutes off a trip from London to Edinburgh and Leeds if such increased speed was given the green light.
One thing Virgin is guaranteeing is more comfort, claiming that passengers in the new Hitachi designed carriages will have increased legroom. The Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin feels that the new trains will “transform rail travellers” between the English and Scottish capitals. The Evening Standard newspaper in London reports the Minister as stating that increased services and quicker journey-times puts the passengers at the heart of the system.
Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson described the announcement as “a hugely important moment” for those undertaking rail journeys on the East Coast line. He said that the historic line, which had previously seen the Flying Scotsman and Mallard, would witness services which had the most advanced long distance trains.