The train arriving at Leeds on May 15 won’t make it to York Station till late summer.
Even by UK railway standards of punctuality that’s a hair-raising delay.
LNER has announced that its rather swish-looking Azuma trains will enter service on 15 May, but the best that York can hope for is a ‘late summer’ arrival.
The first one will run from Kings Cross to Leeds, “with further trains being phased into service on the rest of the route over the coming months”.
An LNER spokesman told YorkMix:
It’s just to do with the availability of the new trains.
We’re gradually introducing the new trains as they become available and complete their testing. We’re starting with Leeds and then Hull followed by York.
The new train has been beset by delays. It was due to take to the East Coast Mainline in 2018, but that was postponed because of technical problems.
Rail magazine has reported how the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) previously suspended approval of the trains due to the design of the inter-car connectors and issues with signalling.
It reported in October: “Since August 1, the trains have been unable to operate in electric mode owing to interference with signalling north of York.”
LNER is increasing its fleet of Azuma trains to 65. They are manufactured in County Durham by Hitachi Rail, harnessing Japanese bullet-train technology.
LNER MD David Home said:
I am delighted to confirm that LNER will run the first Azuma train on the service between London and Leeds, commencing from 15 May.
This is what customers up and down the country have been waiting for and represents a monumental milestone for rail travel.
We’ve worked very hard alongside our partners and suppliers to reach this point and I look forward to giving all our customers an excellent experience every time they travel with us