A new high-speed rail service between Hull and London arrived on-time at King’s Cross on maiden journey from Paragon Interchange.
London North Eastern Railway’s (LNER) inaugural Azuma service was launched in front of guests at the Hull station on Thursday at 7am before arriving in London at 9.53am.
It follows the final High Speed Train (HST) travelling between the two cities on Wednesday evening after more than 40 years of service.
The new trains use Japanese bullet train technology – Azuma means “east” in Japanese. They were built by Hitachi’s UK manufacturing team in County Durham.
The launch of the inaugural service from platform seven was officially marked by Councillor Daren Hale, Deputy Leader of Hull City Council.
A group of 30 children and teachers from Hull Children’s University were aboard the train.
LNER managing director David Horne said: “The launch of the first Azuma service between Hull and London is a truly momentous event for LNER, our customers and the communities in the region.
“These new trains are the first that the LNER network has seen in more than 30 years. From extra leg-room and improved WiFi to being more environmentally friendly, the Azuma experience is a real revolution in rail travel.”
“I’m delighted that Hull and Selby are among the first places to benefit from our state-of-the-art Azuma trains.”
It marks the first time that the new Azuma trains will run in bi-mode, which allows them to switch between running on a diesel engine to using electricity from the overhead powerlines.
Representatives of Hull Chamber of Commerce, Hull and Humber Environment Forum and Hull and East Riding Rail Users’ Association were welcomed onboard to sample the Azuma experience for themselves.
The nine-coach Azuma train has 100 extra seats in Standard Class, a new “Let’s Eat Cafe Bar” and traffic light reservation system to make it easier for customers to find their seats.
LNER operates one service each day between Hull and London King’s Cross. The southbound service departs Hull at 7am and returns from London King’s Cross at 5.18pm.