Hitachi Scores EU Commuter-Train First as Express Arrivals Begin

Hitachi Ltd. announced its first contract in the European commuter-train market on the day that it commences deliveries from an earlier 5.7 billion-pound ($8.8 billion) breakthrough-order for its Intercity Express model.

Hitachi will provide 70 AT200 trains to Abellio for use by the ScotRail franchise, which the state-owned Dutch operator begins running next month. The first seven units will be built in Japan and the rest at the Tokyo-based company’s new European factory in Newton Aycliffe, England, according to a statement.

The deal for the AT200, a model first unveiled last July, gives Hitachi a bridgehead in the European commuter sector and follows its successful penetration of the long-distance market with the 122-train Intercity Express order for Britain’s East Coast and Great Western lines, and a contract to supply 29 Javelin sets used between London and the Channel Tunnel.

John Veitch, Hitachi Rail Europe’s general manager for Scotland, said the company was “delighted’ with the deal for the AT200s, which includes a 10-year maintenance contract.

The electric trains, in three- or four-car formations with a top speed of 100 miles an hour, will enter service in late 2017 and run on the Edinburgh-Glasgow route linking Scotland’s biggest cities, as well as on the Stirling-Alloa-Dunblane line.

Today’s order announcement came hours before the planned disembarkation of the first of Hitachi’s Class 800 Intercity Express trains at Southampton docks on England’s south coast.

The five-car train, shipped from Japan on the Wallenius Wilhelmsen roll-on roll-off transporter Tamerlane, is one of 12 to be built for the program at Hitachi’s Kasado Works, with the remaining 110 to be manufactured at the Newton Aycliffe site.

Capable of 125 miles an hour, the new model is slated to enter service from 2017 on the Great Western route.

Hitachi, which builds key parts of the Shinkansen bullet train, moved its global rail headquarters to London last year to further the European push and last month agreed to buy the rail arm of Italy’s Finmeccanica SpA for 773 million euros ($814 million), expanding into signaling and metro trains.

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