British Rail Class 800
|British Rail Class 800|
GWR Class 800 units 800008 and 800028 at Bridgwater
Standard class seats in GWR unit 800009.
|Constructed||2014 - present|
|Number under construction|
|Car body construction||Aluminium|
|Car length||26 metres (85 ft 4 in)|
|Width||2.7 metres (8 ft 10 in)|
|Weight||243 tonnes (5-car),|
438 tonnes (9-car)
|Axle load||15 tonnes (13 tonnes without diesel engine)|
|Traction system||120 kW (160 hp) per axle|
|Prime mover(s)||MTU 12V 1600 R80L|
|Engine type||V12 diesel|
|Power output||560 kW (750 hp) per engine|
|Acceleration||1.6 mph per second (2.5 km/h per second; 0.70m/s/s)|
|Deceleration||2.3 mph per second (1.00m/s/s) service, 2.7 mph per second (1.20m/s/s) emergency|
|Electric system(s)||25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead lines|
|Current collection method||Pantograph|
|Safety system(s)||AWS, TPWS, ETCS, ATP|
|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 is a type of bi-mode multiple unit used in the United Kingdom, powered by electric traction motors being capable of operating on electrified track using overhead wires and unelectrified track using diesel generators. The trains are based on the Hitachi A-train design. They have been built by Hitachi since 2014. The first units entered service on the Great Western Main Line (GWML) in October 2017, and will now enter service on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) from 2019 following delays in type testing and concerns over the safety of interconnecting electrical cables between the coaches. The Class 802 is similar but has uprated diesel engines and larger fuel tanks.
These trains are being assembled at the Hitachi Newton Aycliffe facility, alongside the related Class 801 electric multiple unit, from bodyshells shipped from the Kasado plant in Japan; no body construction takes place in the UK.
The Class 800 units are part of the Intercity Express Programme (IEP). On Great Western Railway, they are known as Intercity Express Trains (IET) and when they enter service with London North Eastern Railway, they will be known as Azumas.
Background and design
As part of the UK Government's Intercity Express Programme (IEP), the Class 800 units are to be partial replacements for the aging InterCity 125 trains which currently operate services on the Great Western Main Line and 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, but guards are to be kept on the units. Door release will be controlled by the drivers, with the guard being responsible for closing the doors using the control panels in the vestibule area. The driver will then carry out a secondary check of the side of the train before departure using the in-cab television monitors.
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||Great Western Railway||36||2014-2018||5||800001–036|
|Class 800/1||London North Eastern Railway||1||2015||9||800101|
|Class 800/3||Great Western Railway||21||2017-||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. However, the Azuma brand will be 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 (48 cu ft) fuel tanks will also be replaced with larger capacity 1.55 m3 (55 cu ft) tanks.
On 30 June 2016, GWR's test unit (800004) ran from Reading to London Paddington carrying invited dignitaries.
GWR unit 800003 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 800010 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.
Introduction into service
The Class 800 trains came into service on the Great Western Main Line on the 16 October 2017. 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 LNER after VTEC returned the East Coast franchise to the government, but the introduction has been delayed until 2019. The 800s operated by LNER will keep the 'Azuma' branding VTEC had introduced for the class.
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Despite being underfloor, the generator units (GU) have diesel engines of V12 formation. The Class 801 has one GU for a 5-9 car set. These provide emergency power for limited traction and auxiliaries if the power supply from the overhead line fails. The class 800/802 electro-diesel or Bi-Mode has 3 GU per five car set and 5 GU per nine car set. A 5 car set has a GU situated under vehicles 2/3/4 respectively and a 9 car set has a GU situated under vehicles 2/3/5/7/8 respectively.
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|
|800019||22 June 2018||Johnny Johnson / Joy Lofthouse|
|800020||18 April 2018||Bob Woodward / Elizabeth Ralph|
|800026||6 August 2018||Don Cameron|
|800306||9 November 2018||Harold Day DSC / Allan Leonard Lewis VC (Armistice Centenary Commemoration train)|
The new interiors have received praise for the slightly increased leg-room and greater number of tables in Standard Class, compared to the Intercity 125 trains which they are to replace. However, the seats have been heavily criticised for excessive hardness and discomfort on lengthy journeys. They have also received severe criticism for a lower level of comfort for First Class passengers compared to the Intercity 125 trains, and the lack of a buffet counter or restaurant car facilities.
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- Hale, Robert (16 May 2017). "Rail watchdog welcomes news of hourly train services linking Worcestershire, Cotswolds and London". Malvern Gazette. Newsquest. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
new InterCity Express Trains will provide us for the first time with a regular hourly service between Worcester and London
- Abbott, James (February 2018). Modern Railways. Vol. 75 no. 833. Key Publishing. pp. 8–9.
and services on the Cotswold lineMissing or empty
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- "Full steam ahead: rainbow themed train unveiled to celebrate Pride 2018". PinkNews. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
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