Getting the train to London is about to get better because LNER launches its new Azuma trains from Wednesday 15th May 2019.
Azuma is the biggest revolution of the East Coast mainline service in more than 30 years – and it’s almost here. In the coming months, LNER will replace its entire fleet with the new model, which uses Japanese bullet train technology to reach speeds of up to 125 miles per hour, and the first train will make its inaugural journey on Wednesday 15th May 2019. But what can you expect and why should you care? We’ve got the lowdown…
More trains, more seats, more cheap tickets
LNER currently has 45 trains in its fleet, but they plan to replace them with 65 new Azuma trains by 2020. Each one has 100 more standard seats than existing models. And because they’ve got more seats, they’re making more of their lowest priced fares available, so you can travel for less.
This is the latest state of the art technology
Inspired by the Japanese bullet train, Azuma is a diesel-electric hybrid made right here in the UK. They’re built by Hitachi’s manufacturing team in County Durham, using parts sourced from British suppliers, and can run on green electric energy or diesel. These state of the art trains are quieter, more efficient and more environmentally friendly than previous models, not to mention better for the environment.
Train travel has never been so comfortable
You can certainly make yourself comfortable on the new Azuma trains – and not just in First Class. Standard comes with an extra 7cm of legroom, as well as more overhead and under-seat storage, space for laptops and practical solutions like coat hooks. They’ve got window blinds, in case you want to get a bit of shut-eye, and the seats are ergonomically designed for added comfort. Over in First Class, it gets even better. The seats recline, so you can lay back and enjoy the ride. You’ll even get bigger tables, so you can spread out.
Work hard, play hard with all the right tech
There’s no more leaning over to plug in your devices on Azuma – every seat comes with its own personal plug socket, and if you’re travelling first class, you’ll get a USB charger too. But that’s not the only thing that’s changed. Wifi now comes as standard and it’s faster than ever – they use mobile data connections to give you coverage up and down the route and choose the best signal, so your connection will never drop out.
You can get your lunch delivered to your seat
The new Azuma trains will have a cafe-bar where you can pick up everything from toasties, sandwiches and snacks to soft drinks, local beers and freshly ground coffee. But you don’t have to get up. Their food carts are set up to bring it all to you – or you can even pre-order and have your nibbles delivered to your seat. Going First Class? You can get a complimentary two-course dinner or lunch, cooked by their chefs, or try their famous Full English Breakfast.
It’s easier than ever to find your seat
With the launch of Azuma, LNER has done away with the old paper seat reservations in favour of a new electronic seat reservation system that will make it even easier to find your seat. Their eye-level displays have a handy green light to show you when they’re free, so if you haven’t booked ahead, you can quickly scan the coach to find a place. Even better, you can reserve a seat at their station travel centre or use the wifi to see which seats haven’t been booked.
The first Azuma train sets off from London to Leeds on Wednesday 15th May 2019 – then it’s full steam ahead with the rollout.