Class 800 Intercity Express Train

The future of high speed intercity services on key routes including the Great Western Main Line and East Coast Main Line are going to be in the hands of the Class 800, part of the Intercity Express Programme (IEP). These high speed multiple units are bi-mode electro-diesels (the Class 801 is a pure electric multiple unit version).

Number built: 536 (80 5- and 9-car sets)
Built: 2015-
Builder: Hitachi Kasado & Newton Aycliffe
Engine: Hitachi traction system (25kV AC OHLE)
MTU 12V 1600 R80L diesel

Final construction of the Class 800 is taking place at a new Hitachi factory in Newton Aycliffe though much of the build including the body shells are being made at a Hitachi factory in Kasado Japan. The prototypes were wholly built in Japan.

The Class 800 are operated by Great Western Railway (800/0 and 800/3) and Virgin East Coast (800/1 and 800/2) as five or nine car sets. GWR introduced them into service in Autumn 2017 and Virgin (who have given them the name Azuma) plan to introduce them before the end of 2018.

GWR's 800s were originally to have been the pure-EMU Class 801 but because of delays in electrifying the GWML the order was switched to the bi-mode Class 800 which has been designed to be able to switch from diesel to electric (and vice versa) at line speed. However they can only achieve their maximum speed (of up to 140mp/h depending on signalling) in electric mode.
GWR 800 029 at Reading

GWR 800 029 and 023 at Reading, showing how the nose folds back to allow coupling
Virgin EC 800 101 on test at York

Another view of 800 101, which was in diesel mode
GWR 800 006 at Reading
Side view of GWR 800 023