The Anonymous Widower

!40 mph Electric Trains At Kings Cross Station

This picture shows LNER’s old and new 140 mph electric trains at Kings Cross station.

On the left is a nine-car Class 801 train.

  • Introduced into service in 2019
  • 234 metres long
  • Capacity – 510 Standard and 101 First
  • One diesel engine for emergency power.

On the right is an InterCity 225.

Both trains are designed for 140 mph and will be able to attain this speed, when in-cab digital signalling is available.

It looks like LNER will have the following full-size electric fleet.

  • Thirty Class 801 trains
  • Seven InterCity 225 trains and spare coaches, driving van trailers and locomotives.

Both trains will be able to work any route with full electrification.

Changes In The Future To LNER Services

I predict that the following will happen.

140 mph Running Between Woolmer Green And Doncaster

This will happen and the following trains will take advantage.

The odd ones out will be Grand Central’s Class 180 trains, which are diesel and only capable of 125 mph.

How long will the other train operating companies accept slow trains on the 140 mph railway?

Digital In-Cab Signalling And 140 mph Running Will Speed Up Services

In Thoughts On Digital Signalling On The East Coast Main Line, I said that following train times would be possible., in addition to a London Kings Cross and Leeds time of two hours.

  • London Kings Cross and Bradford Forster Square – two hours and thirty minutes
  • London Kings Cross and Harrogate – two hours and thirty minutes
  • London Kings Cross and Huddersfield – two hours and twenty minutes
  • London Kings Cross and Hull – two hours and thirty minutes
  • London Kings Cross and Middlesbrough – two hours and thirty minutes
  • London Kings Cross and Scarborough – two hours and thirty minutes
  • London Kings Cross and Skipton – two hours and thirty minutes
  • London Kings Cross and York – two hours


  1. All timings would be possible with Hitachi Class 80x trains.
  2. Timings on Fully-electrified routes would be possible with InterCity 225 trains.

It appears that Grand Central will be stuck in the slow lane.

Grand Central Will Acquire Hitachi Trains Or Give Up

Grand Central‘s destinations of Bradford Interchange and Sunderland can’t be reached by all-electric trains, so will either have to follow Hull Trains and purchase Hitachi bi-mode trains or give up their routes.

The Diesel Engines In The Class 801 Trains Will Be Replaced By Batteries

East Coast Trains’ Class 803 trains have a slightly different powertrain to LNER’s Class 801 trains, which is explained like this in Wikipedia.

Unlike the Class 801, another non-bi-mode AT300 variant which despite being designed only for electrified routes carries a diesel engine per unit for emergency use, the new units will not be fitted with any, and so would not be able to propel themselves in the event of a power failure. They will however be fitted with batteries to enable the train’s on-board services to be maintained, in case the primary electrical supplies would face a failure.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar battery system fitted to the Class 801 trains.

The Diesel Engines In Hull Trains Class 802 Trains Will Be Replaced By Batteries

In Hull Issues New Plea For Electrification, I showed how Hitachi’s Class 802 trains with batteries instead of diesel engines could work long-distance services to and from Hull.

This will happen, as electric trains to London, would be a dream for a marketing man or woman.

Will The InterCity 225 Trains Lose Some First Class Seats?

This may happen, so that the seating layout in both trains is almost identical.

I’m certain, that it could be arranged, that seat numbers in both trains could have a similar position.

This would mean that if an InterCity 225 train replaced a Class 801 train, there wouldn’t need to be a seat reallocation.

Could InterCity 225 Trains Be Fitted With Emergency Batteries?

If LNER thought they were needed, I’m sure that this would be possible and Hyperdrive Innovation would oblige!


British Rail last hurrah, is giving Hitachi’s latest trains, a run for their money!


September 17, 2020 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Will The InterCity 125 Trains Lose Some First Class Seats? Why lose seats? Could they not just be left off the reservation system?

    Comment by JohnC | September 17, 2020 | Reply

    • I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or even half of one carriage, turned into Second, as this would increase the total number of seats or match the numbers in the 801s.


      Comment by AnonW | September 17, 2020 | Reply

  2. Would it not be sensible for all electric trains to have a diesel engine for emergency use? In the event of a power failure they can at least keep moving rather than blocking the line. It seems it can sometimes take hours to remove a failed train with all the disruption that that entails.

    Comment by JohnC | September 17, 2020 | Reply

  3. Hitachi made this a major feature of their train design.
    But the latest fleets for Avanti West Coast and East Coast Trains have left this out. Could it be that electrification has improved and trains rarely fail without a power supply?

    The East Coast Trains do have a battery to provide hotel power.

    Comment by AnonW | September 17, 2020 | Reply

  4. Re East Coast Trains’ 803’s. Wikipedia states that these are 125 mph sets and that the batteries are only for on board services. They have neither the battery capacity nor the extra equipment needed to propel the trains.

    Comment by RayJKay | November 14, 2020 | Reply

  5. I would expect that the 803’s and Avanti’s 807’s. which don’t have diesels or batteries are a few tonnes lighter than the 800s and 802s, so they will have better acceleration and deceleration which will help them meet timings of four hours for London and Edinburgh and two hours for London and Liverpool respectively.

    Comment by AnonW | November 14, 2020 | Reply

  6. I think the majority of electric train failures involve the overhead line equipment rather than the train. If this is the case there is little point in providing standby traction power as the train wouldn’t be able to get far if there is a damaged overhead line blocking the track.

    Comment by RogerB | November 14, 2020 | Reply

    • This document on the Hotachi web site is worth a read.

      Click to access r2014_10_105.pdf

      It describes in detail the development of the Class 800 trains.

      The East Coast Main Line used to be notorious for overhead power failures. In fact, about five years ago, when I went to Edinburgh, I used to book an HST.

      Hitachi designed the trains to accept regular failures and be able to get through difficulties on the single stand-by diesel engine.

      Power failures on the line appear less common now, but I have no real statistics, which obviously Hitachi do. It was known, that when Eurostar trains ran to Leeds for GNER, they bashed all hell out of the catenary. Perhaps, the Hitachi trains treat it gently.

      But certainly Hitachi seem to be moving away from the belt and braces approach with the Class 803 and 807 trains, which appear to be lightweight speedsters, that depend on reliable catenary.

      I’d certainly like to see the number of catenary failures on UK railways.

      I’ve only had one in the last year and that was when the usual suspects nicked the overhead wires near Colchester.

      Overhead wire theft is a big problem in some places and a French friend says it’s common there.

      Comment by AnonW | November 14, 2020 | Reply

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