A SPECIAL preview Azuma is running from Harrogate to Leeds today, as a curtain-raiser for the launch of Intercity Express services between the North Yorkshire spa town and London.
Following the timetable change on 15 December, Harrogate will gain five new London trains each weekday, in addition to the existing daily return service. This will continue as an HST for now.
LNER managing director David Horne said: ‘Harrogate is an incredibly important destination for LNER. We hope that our new Azuma services will not only revolutionise the experience for those who travel with us but also open up huge economic benefits for the area thanks to the increase of services from one train each way to six.
‘With these new regular services in both directions, it offers significantly more opportunities for business travel, tourists and international visitors wanting to experience the many cultural attractions the famous spa town offers, including the Convention Centre, Royal Pump Rooms, Turkish Baths and ever-popular tea rooms, as well as the stunning surrounding countryside.’
LNER is replacing all 45 trains in its fleet with 65 Azumas, and this process is due to be completed by June 2020. However, the operator is short of one Azuma at the moment, after one power car was badly damaged in a collision with an HS2 at Neville Hill depot in Leeds on 13 November. It is understood that repairs to the damaged cab and nose are being carried out at Doncaster Carr maintenance centre.