|British Rail Class 800 AT300|
The standard class interior of a LNER Class 800
|Constructed||2014 - 2018|
|Capacity||GWR: 5 car set: 290 standard, 36 first class - 9 car set: 580 standard, 70 first class |
LNER: 5 car set: 254 standard, 48 first class - 9 car set: 510 standard, 101 first class
|Car body construction||Aluminium|
|Car length||26 m (85 ft 3 5⁄8 in)|
|Width||2.7 m (8 ft 10 1⁄4 in)|
|Weight||243 tonnes (239 long tons; 268 short tons) (5-car),|
438 tonnes (431 long tons; 483 short tons) (9-car)
|Axle load||15 tonnes (14.8 long tons; 16.5 short tons) (13 tonnes [12.8 long tons; 14.3 short tons] without diesel engine)|
|Traction system||120 kW (160 hp) per axle|
|Prime mover(s)||MTU 12V 1600 R80L (three per 5-car unit, five per 9-car unit)|
|Engine type||21-litre V12 turbo-Diesel|
|Power output||560 kW (750 hp) per engine|
|Acceleration||0.70 m/s2 (1.6 mph/s; 2.5 km/(h⋅s)))|
|Deceleration||1 m/s2 (2.2 mph/s; 3.6 km/(h⋅s)) service|
1.2 m/s2 (2.7 mph/s; 4.3 km/(h⋅s)) emergency
|Electric system(s)||25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead lines|
|Current collection method||Pantograph|
|Safety system(s)||AWS, TPWS, ETCS, ATP (GWR Units)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|1:^ The engines are fully rated at 700 kW (940 hp), but have been de-rated on these units.|
The British Rail Class 800 AT300 is a type of bi-mode multiple unit train built by Hitachi for Great Western Railway and London North Eastern Railway. They use electric motors for traction, but in addition to operating on track with overhead electric wires, they have diesel generators to enable them to operate on unelectrified track. Based on the Hitachi A-train design, the trains were built by Hitachi between 2014 and 2018.
The trains were assembled at the Hitachi Newton Aycliffe facility, alongside the related Class 801 from bodyshells shipped from the Kasado plant in Japan; no body construction takes place in the UK. As well as resembling the Class 801, the units are also very similar to the Class 802 units, which have uprated diesel engines and larger fuel tanks.
As part of its production, the Class 800 is a part of the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) and is in the Hitachi AT300 product family. Their respective train operating company has also given the units separate brands; under Great Western Railway, they are known as Intercity Express Trains (IET) and under London North Eastern Railway, they are known as Azuma.
Background and design
As part of the UK Government's Intercity Express Programme (IEP), the Class 800 units were built as partial replacements for the InterCity 125 trains which at the time operated services on the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line and also the InterCity 225 trains which currently operate services on the East Coast Main Line. The Class 800s are bi-modal multiple units using electric traction motors able to draw power from electrified overhead lines where available or provide the electricity via underfloor diesel generators when outside the electrified network. The train specification requires that this changeover can occur at line speed. As part of the Great Western Main Line order was originally for Class 801s, all Great Western franchise units have 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, however nearly all services have a guard on board, with this exception being on Oxford and Bedwyn services operated by GWR, where drivers use the in-cab monitors to close the doors without a guard. With a guard on board, door releases are still controlled by the driver, with the guard being responsible for closing the doors using the control panels in the vestibule areas. The driver will then carry out a secondary check of the side of the train before departure using the in-cab monitors.
Introduction into service
The Class 800 trains came into service on the Great Western Main Line on 16 October 2017, under the brand name Intercity Express Train (abbreviated to IET). 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.
The units were due to enter service on the East Coast Main Line from December 2018 with London North Eastern Railway after Virgin Trains returned the East Coast franchise to the government, but the introduction has been delayed until 2019 owing to the units creating electro-magnetic emissions, in turn causing problems with signals and lineside equipment.
The first Class 800 came into service on the East Coast Main Line on 15 May 2019, under the brand name 'Azuma'. They initially began working Leeds, Hull and Newark services. The first one from Edinburgh to Kings Cross ran on 1 August 2019, on the 'Flying Scotsman' service.
Despite being underfloor, the generator units (GU) are V12 configuration. The Class 801 has one GU for a five to nine-car set. These provide emergency power for limited traction and auxiliaries if the power supply from the overhead line fails. The Class 800 and Class 802 bi-mode has three GU per five-car set and five GU per nine-car set. A five-car set has a GU situated under vehicles 2/3/4 and a nine-car set has a GU situated under vehicles 2/3/5/7/8.
According to Modern Railways magazine, the limited space available for the GUs has made them prone to overheating. It claims that, on one day in summer 2018, "half the diagrammed units were out of action as engines shut down through overheating".
Great Western Railway's Intercity Express Trains are being named after "inspirational people" who have influenced the regions that the company serves.
|800003||13 June 2017||Queen Elizabeth II / Queen Victoria|
|800004||30 June 2016||Isambard Kingdom Brunel / Sir Daniel Gooch|
|800008||7 June 2018||#trainbow|
|800009||7 March 2018||Sir Gareth Edwards / John Charles|
|800010||10 January 2018||Michael Bond / Paddington Bear|
|800014||8 March 2019||Megan Lloyd George / Edith New|
|800019||22 June 2018||Johnny Johnson / Joy Lofthouse|
|800020||18 April 2018||Bob Woodward / Elizabeth Ralph|
|800023||18 April 2019||Kathryn Osmond / Firefighter Fleur Lombard|
|800025||29 April 2020||Captain Tom Moore|
|800026||6 August 2018||Don Cameron|
|800036||30 October 2020||Dr Paul Stephenson|
|800306||9 November 2018||Harold Day DSC / Allan Leonard Lewis VC (Armistice Centenary Commemoration train)|
|800314||6 March 2020||Odette Hallowes|
|800321||15 June 2020||'The Mask'|
London North Eastern Railway unveiled a special vinyl on one of their units to celebrate the launch of Azuma to Scotland. It was operated on the first Azuma from Scotland, which ran on the 'Flying Scotsman' from Edinburgh on 1 August 2019. This same unit was also used when Azuma was launched to Aberdeen and Inverness respectively.
|800104||1 August 2019||Celebrating Scotland (Our Official LNER Tartan train)|
A total of 80 train sets will be constructed, with 36 five-car and 21 nine-car units intended for operation with Great Western Railway, plus 10 five-car and 13 nine-car with London North Eastern Railway.
|Class||Operator||No. built||Year built||Cars per set||Unit nos.|
|Class 800/0 Intercity Express Train||Great Western Railway||36||2014–2018||5||800001–036|
|Class 800/1 Azuma||London North Eastern Railway||1||2015||9||800101|
|Class 800/2 Azuma||10||5||800201–210|
|Class 800/3 Intercity Express Train||Great Western Railway||21||2017-2018||9||800301–321|
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. However, due to the early demise of Virgin Trains East Coast, they will not operate the new trains, which will enter service with successor London North Eastern Railway. Even so, the Azuma brand has been retained by LNER.
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 (300 imp gal) fuel tanks will also be replaced with larger capacity 1.55 m3 (340 imp gal) tanks.
On 30 June 2016, GWR's test unit (800 004) ran from Reading to London Paddington carrying invited dignitaries.
GWR unit 800 003 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 800 010 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 the other end of the unit carries the bear's name.
The interiors on the Class 800 trains have received praise for the increased leg-room and greater number of seats and tables in Standard Class, in comparison to the trains they replace. However, the seats in both Standard and First Class have been heavily criticised for excessive hardness and discomfort on lengthy journeys, with the overall First Class experience said to be a downgrade as the seats are no longer leather like their predecessors had due to fire regulations. The GWR IET has also been criticised for the lack of a buffet car with the catering service instead being provided by a trolley and also the fact that surfboards are no longer allowed on the train due to the limited space available. In comparison with the IET, the LNER Azuma has a small 'micro' buffet retained with other aspects of the interior being similar between the two companies.
- On the evening of 13 November 2019, an LNER Azuma (800109) was involved in a collision with a Class 43 HST powercar (43300) at Neville Hill Depot, Leeds when the Class 800 ran into the rear of the HST. The trains were travelling at 15 miles per hour (24 km/h) and 5 miles per hour (8 km/h) respectively, with three carriages of the Class 800 derailing and the leading vehicle of the Class 800 and trailing locomotive of the HST being severely damaged. On 18 November 2020, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch published its report into the accident with the investigation finding that driver error was the cause of the accident, with insufficient training of the driver being an underlying cause. The effect of the collision was exacerbated by the design of the Class 800 as crashworthiness requirements did not require the effects of a collision at less than 23.5 mph (36 kph) to be taken into account nor did it include specific criteria for assessing the derailment performance.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to British Rail Class 800.|
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