A new dawn as Azuma arrives on the LNER flying Scotsman route
London North Eastern Railway (LNER) launched Azuma passenger services on the prestigious East Coast route between Edinburgh and London.
The inaugural LNER Azuma service departed Edinburgh Waverley at 05:40 as dawn broke on a new age of rail travel along the 393-mile route connecting the Scottish and English capital cities.
David Horne, LNER Managing Director, said: “This marks the beginning in a new age of rail travel in Britain with our Azuma trains being launched on our Edinburgh route. Azuma trains by LNER offer more seats, better WiFi, more reliability and will ultimately offer faster journey times between the two cities.
“The Azuma experience is the proud tradition of LNER setting new standards in rail travel. From extra legroom, improved accessibility and more environmentally friendly, our new trains are truly transformational.”
“The original Flying Scotsman train entered passenger service in 1862 when the locomotive was introduced between Edinburgh and London. Throughout its 157-year history the service has endured as a symbol of speed and excellence on the East Coast route. We are excited to be continuing that proud tradition with the first Azuma passenger train being our Flying Scotsman service.”
To celebrate the launch of Azuma services to Scotland, LNER has unveiled its first official tartan, created with colours that represent the regions and communities it serves.
Created by renowned tartan designer Ken MacDonald, based in Paisley, the Azuma train working the inaugural ‘Flying Scotsman’ service will display a new livery featuring the tartan, the first Azuma train to sport a special livery.
Azuma is a game-changer for cross-border long-distance travel. The new world-class fleet will help create more regular journey times of just four hours between Edinburgh and London with the introduction of a new timetable from 2021. All existing trains on the route will be replaced with a fleet of 65 new Azuma trains built in the North East of England.
Azuma trains boast a dedicated ‘Let’s Eat Cafe Bar’ in addition to the ever-popular at-seat trolley service in Standard Class. Customers in First Class will enjoy complimentary two-course meals freshly prepared in the onboard kitchens using locally sourced ingredients.
First Class also includes larger tables, reclining seats and both USB and plug sockets at every seat.
The seats have been designed to maximise comfort and support posture. A new traffic light seat reservation system alongside clear digital displays above seats in First and Standard Class make it easy for customers to find reserved or available seats on-board.
The new Azuma trains are part of the Government’s £5.7billion Intercity Express Programme which will modernise LNER services on the key intercity route used by more than 22 million people each year.
The inaugural northbound London King’s Cross to Edinburgh service will depart London King’s Cross at 17:30 and will call at Peterborough, Newark North Gate, York, Darlington, Durham, Newcastle, Alnmouth, Dunbar and arrive at Edinburgh Waverley at 22:10.
The environmental benefits of the new trains are transformational. The Azuma fleet will cut harmful emissions by 90 per cent compared to existing High Speed Trains (HSTs) as well as reducing noise at stations and for communities living along the East Coast route.
The on-board environment is a significant improvement for all customers including those who require wheelchair access, Priority Seats, Universal Access Toilets, clearer exterior and interior passenger information screens and audio announcements.