British Rail Class 801

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British Rail Class 801
VTEC 801101.jpg
801101 on test at Doncaster, April 2018
In service16 September 2019
Built at
Family nameA-Train
Constructed2017 - present
Number built30 x 9-car sets
12 x 5-car sets
Capacity5 Car Set: 45 First Class, 270 Standard
9 Car Set: 101 First Class, 526 Standard [1]
Operator(s)London North Eastern Railway
Line(s) servedEast Coast Main Line
Car body constructionAluminium
Car length26 m (85 ft 3 58 in)
Maximum speed
  • 125 mph (200 km/h)
  • (140 mph, 225 km/h with minor modifications)
Weight41 tonnes per coach[2]
Electric system(s)25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead lines
Current collection methodPantograph
Safety system(s)AWS, TPWS, ETCS
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The British Rail Class 801 is the electric multiple unit (EMU) variant of the Hitachi Super Express, based on the Hitachi A-train, high-speed trains to be used in the United Kingdom. They are being built by Hitachi from 2017 at Hitachi's purpose built facility at Newton Aycliffe, alongside the related electro-diesel Class 800.[3] The Class 801's are planned for introduction on the London-Leeds route from 16 September 2019.[4]

The train is part of the Hitachi AT300 product family.[5] Just like their Class 800s, London North Eastern Railway have branded their Class 801s as Azumas.[6]

Background and design[edit]

As part of the UK Government's Intercity Express Programme, the Class 801 units were to be replacements for the InterCity 125 and InterCity 225 trains which currently operate services on the Great Western Main Line (GWML) and the East Coast Main Line (ECML).[7] The Class 801 units were designed as electric multiple units, with one diesel engine fitted to each set for emergency use. In the 5-car sets,the single diesel engine is located in car 4. In the 9-car sets, the diesel engine is located in car 8. However, owing to delays in the electrification of the GWML, in June 2016 the Government announced that the 21 nine-car units (Class 801/0) planned for use by Great Western Railway would instead be converted to bi-mode operation,[8] and they were later reclassified as Class 800/3.[9] As a consequence, Class 801 units will be used exclusively on the ECML.

According to LNER, the Azuma fleet will not only increase capacity but also improve reliability and resilience, especially at times of disruption, since even the Class 801 EMUs are fitted with a single diesel powerpack.[10]

Introduction into service[edit]

The first two Class 801s entered service on 16 September 2019 with LNER. LNER announced this as the first 10-car Azuma to come into service. 801109 - 801110 were the units, having started and finished their diagram at Leeds.

Fleet details[edit]

Class Operator No. Built Year Built Cars per Set Unit nos.
Class 801/1[11] London North Eastern Railway 12 2017- 5 801101–112
Class 801/2[11] 30 2017- 9 801201–230
LNER Class 801/1
LNER Class 801/2


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Government gives green light for more state-of-the-art intercity trains, Department for Transport, 18 July 2013
  4. ^ September 16 launch for Class 801 Azumas on London-Leeds route RAIL; 1 August 2019
  5. ^ "AT300 - Intercity High Speed | Hitachi Rail EU". Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  6. ^ "Our new Azuma trains have arrived". Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  7. ^ DfT Confirms Second Intercity Trains, Railnews, 18 July 2013
  8. ^ Hitachi converts GWR ‘801s’ to bi-mode operation, Rail Magazine, 8 June 2016
  9. ^ "Great Western bi-mode '801s' to be reclassified as Class '800/3s'". Rail. Peterborough: Bauer Media. 20 July 2016. p. 33.
  10. ^ LNER launches Hitachi Azuma trainsets. - Railway Gazette. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
  11. ^ a b "EMU Formations". AbRail. AbRail. Retrieved 18 November 2015.

External links[edit]