The first LNER Azuma worked in passenger service from the North East and Scotland on 1 August. Nine-car bi-mode No 800104 formed the 05.40 ‘Flying Scotsman’ from Edinburgh to London King’s Cross with a single stop at Newcastle, arriving one minute early at 09.39.
The working was the first scheduled passenger run for an Azuma north of Doncaster on the East Coast main line. No 800104 had received special vinyls incorporating the Scottish flag and LNER’s own tartan for a launch event at Edinburgh Waverley the previous day.
On 30 July a launch event in York saw No 800113 draw up in an adjacent platform to steam record-holding locomotive Mallard, making its first outing to the station for 30 years. The Azuma then worked a preview trip to Darlington, where it arrived adjacent to A1 class steam loco Flying Scotsman.
LNER is receiving 65 Azumas from Hitachi: 13 nine-car and 10 five-car Class 800 bi-modes and 30 nine-car and 12 five-car Class 801 electrics. The Azumas first carried passengers on service to Leeds and Hull from 15 May, with the full fleet due to be introduced by the middle of 2020.