UK: In the course of an official visit to the UK, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe joined his host David Cameron to visit the depot at North Pole in west London that will maintain the fleet of trainsets being supplied by Hitachi under the government’s Intercity Express Programme that will be operated by Great Western Railway.

Formerly the London rolling stock maintenance facility for Eurostar, North Pole has been refurbished for its new role. During their visit, Abe and Cameron inspected the nine-car pre-series test train which has been painted in the livery of Virgin Trains East Coast, which will also operate IEP, and named ‘Azuma’, the Japanese for ‘east’.

‘The visit to our North Pole train maintenance centre by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister David Cameron is a very proud moment for Hitachi’, said Hitachi Rail Europe Managing Director Karen Boswell. She added that the visit highlighted ‘the important role service delivery for our customers plays in our business alongside rolling stock innovation and manufacturing’.

‘I am delighted that our partners in the Intercity Express Programme, including Agility Trains, the Department for Transport, Network Rail, GWR and Virgin Trains, were able to join us for this historic visit’, said Boswell, ‘as we all look forward to delivering a step-change in reliability, service, capacity and journey times for rail passengers across the UK.’