Photos: 395 Javelin from RailNews.co.uk and Fareastgizmos.com
A consortium led by Hitachi has won the bid to provide super-express trains to Britain. This is great news if you like fast, safe trains and plan to drive (or fly) less in the future. Manufactured in Kasado, Japan by Hitachi the 395 Javelin model is on schedule to be used by the Southeastern train company on the soon-to-be-completed final section of the Channel Tunnel Rail link from Kent into central London. By 2013 they will connect London to Edinburgh and replace the 30-year-old InterCity 125s promoted in the British Rail "This is the age of the train" adverts that featured Sir Jimmy Savile, according to The Times.
The trains will be the fastest operating domestic service trains in Britain, running at a maximum speed of 140 mph (225 km/h). NHK World notes that technically, these are very advanced trains:
The stock will include hybrid trains equipped with diesel engines and lithium ion batteries. Hitachi says there is growing recognition of its environment-friendly technology. Capitalizing on the reputation of its bullet trains, Japan's manufacturers see the worldwide push for "greener" transport alternatives as a significant opportunity.
The Financial Times is also excited: The new trains' body shells will be built in Japan because Hitachi's Japanese factories have unique welding equipment that makes trains far lighter than the 125mph models they will replace.
Test-running will start on the London-to-Edinburgh east coast main line in 2013, and the main fleet is said to start running on that line in 2015, with services on the Great Western main line from Paddington and local Thames valley services due to start in 2016.
Now, if only the British could teach the Japanese how to build large, wonderful train stations...
More super-express trains:
Shinkansen: Introducing The Five Fastest Regular Super Express Trains In Japan
Project Transit: Restoring the Romance of Public Transportation
Making Trains Fun, Sexy, And Romantic in Japan
MagLev Trains by 2025 In Japan
High-Speed Trains Coming To California
Written by Martin Frid at greenz.jp