Japanese bullet train order set for UK network

Japan’s bullet train technology is coming to the UK, with the Department for Transport expected to announce a £1 billion order with Hitachi before the Olympics.

The carriage shells will be built in Japan and then assembled in the UK, creating around 500 new jobs.

Five-hundred new carriages, which will use the same technology as the Shinkansen bullet trains, will be introduced to the network around 2016.

The new trains will replace the Intercity 125s, which were first introduced to the network in 1976, and will run between Paddington, Bristol and Cardiff.

13 COMMENTS

    • If the IEP order does go to Hitachi, it has been long known that bodyshells and other specialised equipment will – initially – be imported from Japan for assembly here. Hitachi have promised that, in time, most of the manufacturing will be carried out at Newton Aycliffe and by local suppliers. Whilst agreeing that the DfT and train operators should be more patriotic and support British companies, sadly there are no longer any British trainbuilders (Bombardier, Derby is a Canadian/German company) and therefore, they have to go foreign.

  1. Can we please stop describing this Hitachi Class 395 derivative as a ‘Bullet Train’.  Whilst some technology from Shinkansen stock may doubtless be incorporated, the IEP is purely an HST replacement to provide a train that operates on conventional lines, but possibly with ultimately a higher top speed capacity given Government aspirations for HS2.
    We are a long way from a Shinkansen type operation in the UK.  One of my degree subjects was to compare the economic growth of the UK and Japan.  Even using the right-wing Rostow analysis, railways were a fundamental part of both country’s ‘take-off’ to mature economy status.  Japan just got its act together post WW2 and throughout the 2nd half of the C20th.  Sucessive UK governments bumbled and fudged it, with minimal investment, and some very good developments like HST, but pity about APT.
    The new investment is welcome, but the Hitachi product may end up being a compromise, and not necessarily the best thing for UK / European producers.
    Reminds me of Kawasaki bogies on Central Line tube stock …….

  2. Please let me correct this oft-stated fallacy. In Derby people are still
    employed to design, build and test new and cutting edge rolling stock at
    Bombardier’s plant. The fact that the parent company is Canadian matters not.
    Hitachi’s plant will only be an assembly shed. After IEP they have no firm
    orders in either the UK or the rest of Europe. It is doubtful that they will get
    a foothold in other European markets because of Japanese trade import
    restrictions on railway equipment, so European governments rightly will not be
    interested (the UK government, by contrast, has no moral compass so doesn’t seem
    to have any problems with this one-way street).

     

    Bullet Trains. Are they cutting edge technology? In reality, the success of
    the Japanese Shinkansen is down to the success of the entire railway system, not
    just the rolling stock per se. In reality, IEP is no more than a quite fast
    D/EMU. Could Bombardier, Alstom or Siemens have designed something as good or
    better? Yes. The use of ‘Bullet Train’ as a moniker is pure marketing spin, only
    possible because Hitachi presumably own the copyright. Whether there is a direct
    link between ‘Bullet Trains’ and IEP is dubious. More likely that IEP has been
    highly optimised/b*stardised for UK conditions.

     

    If you want cutting edge, look at Bombardier’s V300 Zefiro. And where was
    that designed? Parts of it, significant parts of it, in Derby! Yet all of
    Hitachi’s design work, all the intellectual property, all the clever stuff, will
    be done in Japan, by Japanese Engineers.

     

    Disappointed at you rail.co, I thought your standards of journalism were
    better than this! 

    • I accept that in today’s global market place it does not matter who owns what, as there are indeed a number of British-owned/based companies with manufacturing facilities abroad. In my reply factory to KitGree, I was merely pointing out that, whilst there is a train building factory at Derby, it is owned by a Canadian conglomerate and therefore, cannot really be referred to as a British company – as some people do.

      • Technically it’s Bombardier Transportation UK Ltd so it’s as much a British company as any other. Also it employs 1500 or so British citizens and it builds trains for the British market so I can’t see how much more British it needs to be really? It’s hardly an important point anyway, the key thing is how many people are employed here and more importantly what kind of jobs they are doing. 

        • My understanding has been that Derby is ultimately responsible to the Bombardier Transportation global headquarters in Berlin, where all worldwide train orders are processed and strategic decisions made. So basically, the UK Divisions is basically the British manufacturing arm of a Canadian/German conglomerate. However, please correct me if I am wrong.

          • Yes, you are half right, but in many respects it functions like a standalone business – quite often responsible for finding new work both at home and in international markets, e.g. South Africa. Also manages its own payroll, is responsible for the upkeep of its own sites, etc. etc.

          • Thanks for that. Let’s hope that Bombardier is successful with regard to Crossrail or else, there is a real danger that Derby will close. Then, like Siemens and Alstom, any long-term UK orders would have to be assembled elsewhere.

  3. I’ve been observing the posts the last few days and was wondering if anyone could tell me
    a) what percentage of components on trains are manufactured in the UK or mainline Europe for
    Alstom voyager or Pendelino
    Bombardier trains supplied out of Derby
    Hitachi Javelin Class 395 specifically
    Siemens Trains on the UK network and
    b) Does anyone know how many UK people/taxpayers are based in those companies?

    • Probably not that many components are manufactured here in the UK but if anyone can give a item-by-item breakdown of particular train (e.g. the Siemens Desiro) I will be most interested.

  4. This decision is the kind of nonsense we have come to expect from the wonderful DafT. The HLOS is an unbelievable wish list that also omits certain essential projects in the Anglia region.  Were these civil servants learning at the Jade Goody School of Geography? ‘I thought East Angular was abroad’
    But this is amply demonstrated by the lack of any passenger or freight strategy for the region including any discussion of what stock may be best for the Norwich line.  It won’t be locos and stock unless they do a Chiltern type job with the Mk3s, or they cascade East Coast Mk4s but their 125mph capability, or the Midland main line?
    Is this deal a precursor that more Hitachi stock CKD kits will come in for future stock, killing off Bombardier at Derby, or is Hitachi really looking to Europe where they should the French and Germans are very proctectionist of their home industry.
    The big question is Alstom, and what might happen at Washwood Heath?
    There are more unanswered question ….. many of us could go on and on and ……

  5. Certainly the Voyager was deployed and modified where needed and the titling on the super Voyager disabled.  The pair of models worked to the benefits of many people.  The comment about track and train fit is important.  Lack of investment by the UK to believe in its self undermines the UK coupled with poor direction and too much competitiveness.  There is near conflict level behaviours in the UK killing future growth.

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