New Azuma trains come into service on East Coast line
London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is celebrating the arrival of Azuma services on its Highland Chieftain route between Inverness, the strath and London King’s Cross.
The Highlands is the latest destination in Scotland to benefit from the arrival of the state of the art Azuma trains on the East Coast route.
David Horne, Managing Director of LNER, said: “As our northern-most destination we are proud to be introducing our revolutionary Azuma services on this key route connecting Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands, with Edinburgh and London.
“Renowned for their magnificent mountains, mysterious lochs and ancient castles, the Scottish Highlands are famous throughout the world for their rich history and proud traditions and what better way to travel there in style and speed than on our Highland Chieftain service with our Azuma trains.”
LNER operates The Highland Chieftain service in both directions every day between Inverness and London King’s Cross.
The inaugural northbound Azuma service arrived on Monday evening and the first southbound Azuma departed earlier today from Inverness at 7.55am arriving at Aviemore at 8.29am.
The new bi-mode Azuma trains are replacing LNER’s diesel High Speed Trains (HSTs) which have served the Inverness route for more almost four decades.
An LNER spokesperson said: "The Azuma boasts some of the most innovative features of modern passenger trains, offering customers ergonomically designed seats for comfort, as well as a system making it even easier to identify available and reserved seats.
"The train also offers the very best in on-board catering for customers in First Class or Standard.
"Customers can look forward to an extra 7cm of legroom in Standard Class with plug sockets and window blinds at every seat.
"One enhancement being introduced in the coming weeks to the long-distance Anglo-Scot services is the addition of extra luggage spaces.
"This will use specially designated areas where some non-reservable seats are currently located, offering extra onboard luggage storage while not inconveniencing any customers already booked to travel."
The launch of the new Highland Chieftain Azuma service was marked with a train featuring the specially designed tartan ‘Celebrating Scotland’ livery.
The tartan has been specially commissioned by LNER in Scotland to represent the colours and communities of the East Coast route.
LNER is replacing all 45 of the existing trains in its fleet with 65 new Azuma trains, which will be completed by June 2020.
Photo: David MacLeod