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FirstGroup orders IETs for East Coast service

Photo: East Coast AT300: FirstGroup has placed an order with Hitachi for its open access service.


FirstGroup has ordered five five-car AT300 units from Hitachi for its new open access service between London and Edinburgh. The service, planned to start in autumn 2021, will comprise five trains a day calling at Stevenage, Newcastle and Morpeth. The company is promising a ‘high-quality, low fare’ link which is seeking to compete with airlines for passengers. It plans an average fare of less than £25, on-board catering and free Wi-Fi with a single class of travel. The £100 million deal for the trains is being financed by Beacon Rail and includes full provision of maintenance for 10 years.
First’s open access rights for the new service were approved by the Office of Rail and Road in April 2016. The company plans a journey time of approximately four hours for its services, which will include an early departure from London reaching Edinburgh by 10.00, designed to attract business passengers who usually fly.

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