British Rail Class 801

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British Rail Class 801 Super Express
VTEC 801101.jpg
801101 on test at Doncaster, April 2018
In service 2018 (planned)[1]
Manufacturer Hitachi
Built at
Family name A-Train
Constructed 2017 - present
Number built 30 x 9-car sets
12 x 5-car sets
Operator(s) London North Eastern Railway
Line(s) served East Coast Main Line
Car body construction Aluminium
Car length 26 m (85 ft 3 58 in)
Maximum speed
  • 125 mph (200 km/h)
  • (140 mph, 225 km/h with minor modifications)
Weight 41 tonnes per coach[2]
Electric system(s) 25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead lines
Current collection method Pantograph
Safety system(s) AWS, TPWS, ETCS, ATP
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The Class 801 Super Express is the electric multiple unit (EMU) variant of the Hitachi Super Express, based on the Hitachi A-train, high-speed trains to be used in the United Kingdom. They are being built by Hitachi from 2017 at Hitachi's purpose built facility at Newton Aycliffe, alongside the related electro-diesel Class 800.[3]

Background and design[edit]

As part of the UK Government's Intercity Express Programme, the Class 801 units were to be replacements for the InterCity 125 and InterCity 225 trains which currently operate services on the Great Western Main Line (GWML) and the East Coast Main Line (ECML).[4] The Class 801 units were designed as electric multiple units. However, owing to delays in the electrification of the GWML, in June 2016 the Government announced that the 21 units planned for use by Great Western Railway would instead be converted to bi-mode operation,[5] and they were later reclassified as Class 800/3.[6] As a consequence, Class 801 units will be used exclusively on the ECML.

Fleet details[edit]

Class Operator No. Built Year Built Cars per Set Unit nos.
Class 801/1[7] London North Eastern Railway 12 2017- 5 801101–112
Class 801/2[7] 30 2017- 9 801201–230

Auxiliary power[edit]

The Class 801 is not regarded as an electro-diesel but it does have one diesel-powered generator unit (GU) per set. This can be used to move the train to the next station, at reduced speed, if the electricity supply from the overhead line fails.[8]


The new interiors have received praise for the increased leg-room and greater number of tables in Standard Class, compared to the Intercity 125 trains which are to be replaced. They have received criticism for a lower level of comfort for First Class passengers compared to the Intercity 125 trains, and the lack of a buffet counter or restaurant car.[9]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]