Hull Trains gave its passengers and local key stakeholders a glimpse into the future of rail travel when a test version similar to its new £60m fleet visited the city.
Hundreds of people visited Hull Paragon Interchange on Friday to catch a first-hand glimpse of the state-of-the-art Hitachi Class 802 train.The visit gave people the chance to see for themselves a version of the five futuristic trains for the first time. For many of the local community, this was their first experience to see an 802 and the facilities on board.
Amongst the guests to see the trains were the city’s MPs, schoolchildren, stakeholders and passengers.They were told the trains will be among the most hi-tech, fast, modern and luxurious trains in the UK and saw how they will revolutionise travel from Hull to London.
On track to become one of the best train operating companies in the UK
Louise Cheeseman was on the platform to greet guests and claims the arrival of these trains will make Hull Trains the best train company in the UK.
She said: “This event was all about giving our local community a chance to see the future of Hull Trains.
“We’ve been informing passengers about them for a while now, and so far have only been able to show artists impressions, followed by photographs of them being built in Japan.
“So, to actually be able to bring a test train to Hull to show our passengers was an opportunity not to miss.
“Now they have seen it for themselves, our passengers can really understand our excitement. This event was about getting the local community excited about what will be a fantastic new era for the company.
“We’ve had so much positive feedback, people have told us they love the look of the trains, the comfort and have noticed the features including the extra legroom and extra storage space they have.
“These trains really will revolutionise train travel from Hull to London and the countdown is now on until they arrive.”
Hull Trains promise the new trains – which have 30 per cent more capacity for seating – will be more reliable, offer greater comfort and be more environmentally friendly.
The trains are also bi-modal and so can operate on both diesel and electric traction. This means they can travel along the East Coast Main Line’s electrified track and not be disrupted when overhead lines are damaged.
There will be five trains, for a timetable which only requires three, so Hull trains say its reliability will inevitably be improved.
In the meantime
But the firm says despite the excitement of the new trains, they are still working around the clock to ensure a reliable service between now and November.
The firm recently secured a high-speed train (HST) from Great Western Railway to add to its fleet to improve reliability between now and the arrival of the new fleet.
Louise Cheeseman described the arrival of the train in February as a “milestone moment” for Hull Trains and revealed it “already worth its weight in gold” after it was needed on its first day in service.
She said: “Whilst the team in Italy work on the new trains, our focus here in Hull remains on providing a reliable service between now and then.
“Last year was a difficult year for us, but we are in a much better position than we were this time last year.
“I can understand why some people have fallen out of love with Hull Trains recently. “But I would now, say give us a chance, our staff are working so hard to make sure we are reliable.
“We have had a good Christmas, and an excellent six weeks where we haven’t cancelled a train. “We have now got an additional train sat in the sidings, that we can use. We are doing everything in our power to make it the best service.
“I am very confident 2019 will be a much better year for Hull Trains.”
• Hull Trains operates seven trains a day between Hull and London each weekday and five on a weekend
• Formed in 2000, the company was one of the UK’s first non-franchised operators delivering services that were not of interest to the franchised operators
• Although the company offers a public service it does not receive any money from the ‘public purse’ – the company operates on a wholly commercial basis and does not receive subsidy or incentives from the Government
• Despite this, Hull Trains offers some of the best value fares between Hull and London
• Increased usage from Hull and the creation of new markets in Brough, Howden and Selby (and the surrounding areas) are the main reasons for Hull Trains’ year on year growth and popularity
• Today the organisation carries around a million passengers each year
• 120 people work for the company, mostly living in Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire
• Aside from the economic benefits derived from carrying business and leisure travellers to and from London, the company is estimated to be worth around £200m to the Hull economy each year (salary and supply chain multiplier effect)
• In 2016, Hull Trains was named the UK’s best train operator and has always scored very highly in the National Passenger Survey since 2000 – regularly ranked in the UK’s top three train operating companies
• In 2019, Hull Trains will invest £60m in new trains which will see the company operating some of the most technologically advanced, fastest and most comfortable trains in the UK.