British Rail Class 801

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British Rail Class 801 Azuma
801109 - 801102 KGX.jpg
801102 at London King's Cross in 2019
Class 801 interior.jpg
The standard class interior of a Class 801
In service16 September 2019 – present
Built at
Family nameA-Train
Constructed2017 - 2020
Number built30 x 9-car sets
12 x 5-car sets
Formation5-car: DPTS-MS-MS-MC-DPTF
Capacity5 car set: 254 standard, 48 first class
9 car set: 510 standard, 101 first class
Operator(s)London North Eastern Railway
Depot(s)Bounds Green
Doncaster Carr
Neville Hill
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 Using ETCS in cab signalling)
Weight41 tonnes per coach
Prime mover(s)MTU 12V 1600 R80L
Engine type21-litre V12 turbo-Diesel[1]
Cylinder count12
Power output560 kW (750 hp) per engine[1]
Acceleration0.70 m/s2 (1.6 mph/s; 2.5 km/(h⋅s))[1])
Deceleration1 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[1]
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 Azuma is a type of electric multiple unit (EMU) built by Hitachi for London North Eastern Railway. The units have been built since 2017 at Hitachi's Newton Aycliffe factory and have been used on services on the East Coast Main Line since 16 September 2019. As part of its production, the Class 801 units were ordered as part of the Intercity Express Programme and are in the Hitachi AT300 product family, alongside the closely related Class 800 units.[2][3] LNER have branded the units as the Azuma, just like on their Class 800 units.[4]

Background and design[edit]

As part of the UK Government's Intercity Express Programme, the Class 801 units were to be built as replacements for the InterCity 125 and InterCity 225 sets which were the main trains used for services on the Great Western Main Line (GWML) and the East Coast Main Line (ECML) at the time.[5] Differing from the Class 800 units, which they were built alongside, the Class 801 units were designed as purely electric multiple units, but with one diesel engine fitted to a single coach of each unit for emergency use. The Class 801 units were to enter service for both Great Western Railway and London North Eastern Railway but due to delays in the electrification of the GWML, it was announced in June 2016 that 21 nine-car (801/0) sets that were going to enter service with GWR would instead be converted to bi-modal operation.[6] As a consequence, all of these sets were re-classified as 800/3 units and the Class 801 units will only see operation on the ECML. However, GWR do have the option to convert all of their Class 800 units to electric-only operation by removal of the diesel engines should it be exercised, in which case they would be re-classified as a Class 801 unit.[7]


801220 at London King's Cross in February 2020

The Class 801 units first entered service on 16 September 2019 with LNER, which were two five-car 801/1 units that were doubled up to make a ten-car train. 801109 and 801110 were the units, having started and finished their diagram at Leeds.[8][9]

Following this shortly were the nine-car 801/2 sets, with two units (801205 and 801207) entering service on 18 November 2019 onto the London King's Cross - Edinburgh route.[10] As of November 2020, all Class 801 units have now entered service with LNER.

Fleet details[edit]

Class Operator No. Built Year Built Cars per Set Unit nos.
Class 801/1 Azuma[11] London North Eastern Railway 12 2017-2020 5 801101–112
Class 801/2 Azuma[11] 30 9 801201–230
LNER Class 801/1 Azuma
LNER Class 801/2 Azuma


  1. ^ a b c d e Rogers, Andrew; Robinson, Chris; Agatsuma, Koji; Iwasaki, Mitsuo; Inarida, Satoru; Yamamoto, Takahisa; Konishi, Kenta; Mochida, Toshihiko (2014). "Development of Class 800/801 High-speed Rolling Stock for UK Intercity Express Programme" (PDF). Hitachi Review. 63 (10): 646.
  2. ^ Department for Transport; McLoughlin, Patrick (18 July 2013). "Government gives green light for more state-of-the-art intercity trains". GOV.UK (Press release). Retrieved 2 January 2020.
  3. ^ "AT300 - Intercity High Speed | Hitachi Rail EU". Archived from the original on 21 February 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  4. ^ "September 16 launch for Class 801 Azumas on London-Leeds route". Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  5. ^ "DfT Confirms Second Intercity Trains". Railnews. 18 July 2013.
  6. ^ "Hitachi converts GWR '801s' to bi-mode operation". Rail. 8 June 2016.
  7. ^ Preston-Ellis, Rom (18 July 2018). "GWR gives update on when we will get speedy new express trains". DevonLive. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  8. ^ London North Eastern Railway (16 September 2019). "Our first 10-car #Azuma has entered service today!". Twitter. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  9. ^ September 16 launch for Class 801 Azumas on London-Leeds route RAIL; 1 August 2019
  10. ^ Hub, The Railway (25 September 2020). "East Coast HST finale - The Railway Hub". Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  11. ^ a b "EMU Formations". AbRail. AbRail. Archived from the original on 15 August 2017. Retrieved 18 November 2015.

External links[edit]