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LNER prepares for Azuma launch with historic showcase
Steam traction inspector Jim Smith is pictured with a new Azuma train standing alongside the Mallard steam locomotive at York Station as London North East Railway's new service is launched

LNER prepares for Azuma launch with historic showcase

Legendary locomotives of the London North Eastern Railway will appear proudly alongside an LNER Azuma train at York and Darlington today ahead of Azuma passenger services launching later this week between London, York, North East England and Edinburgh.

LNER Azuma services will begin serving York, North East England and Edinburgh from tomorrow.

The National Railway Museum’s world record-breaking A4 locomotive Mallard, which set a new speed record for steam on July 3rd, 1938, will be at York station today to officially welcome Azuma to the city.

LNER is set to launch Azuma services on the same route and continue the proud tradition of setting new standards in rail travel along Britain’s prestigious East Coast.

The County Durham built trains offer more seats, more legroom, better Wi-Fi, improved accessibility, greater reliability than the current fleet and ultimately faster journey times.

LNER has been working closely with the National Railway Museum for the event, which is a very rare outing for Mallard as it has not been on display at York station for 30 years.


After a short ceremony to launch LNER’s new Azuma services, the preview Azuma train will make the short journey north to the railway town of Darlington where it will be welcomed, side by side, by Flying Scotsman.

Mallard was designed by sir Nigel Gresley when he was chief mechanical engineer at LNER.

The A4 class locomotives with their distinctive streamlining, cut the journey time from London King’s Cross to Newcastle to just four hours.

Also designed by Gresley, Flying Scotsman was originally built in Doncaster for the London and North Eastern Railway as part of the A1 class of steam locomotives.

Flying Scotsman set many new records: hauling the first non-stop regular service between London and Edinburgh in 1928 and in 1934 became the first locomotive in the world to achieve an authenticated speed of 100pmh.

David Horne, LNER managing director, said: “Today marks a new turning point for rail travel in Britain with LNER’s Azuma trains launching on our iconic route, connecting the region with Scotland and London.

“LNER is unique due to our rich heritage of history-making people, trains and milestones.

“Sir Nigel Gresley, Flying Scotsman, Mallard and the famous speed records are part of the deep well of inspiration we draw upon to drive us further forward in creating new milestones for LNER.”

Thursday will be the first day Azuma passenger services will begin from London to York, North East England and Edinburgh. 65 new Azuma trains will replace all of the existing LNER fleet of 45 trains by summer 2020.

Photo Credit: PA Images