Top speed for Europe - on-time and on budget

Hitachi’s Class 395 became the first high-speed passenger train in the UK, launching a preview service six months ahead of schedule in June 2009. The full service, running since December 2009, has dramatically reduced journey times between London and Kent.

Top speed for Europe - on-time and on budget

Project summary

The Class 395 is our first rolling stock in regular service in Europe. It is the fastest domestic train in the country, capable of operating at a maximum speed of 140mph, and is currently the flagship of Hitachi and Japanese engineering.

Southeastern Rail and High Speed 1 are key stakeholders in project 395.

The UK  Strategic Rail Authority wanted to benefit from the new high speed line (HS1) after it was built and chose us to design and build the UK’s first high speed trains.

The Class 395 is the first of its kind in Britain because it works in dual voltage systems; both on the high speed line and on the classic network in Kent.

It was a challenging contract to achieve because it was our first roll-over contract in the UK. It is also the most complex train in the UK as a result of the dual voltage system and multiple signalling systems.

The high speed railway connects Central London through St Pancras International, East London through Stratford International, with Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International serving Kent in the South East of England.

The units also played a major role in the London 2012 Olympic Games Transportation Plan transporting visitors from the Olympic Games to St. Pancras and Ashford International, acting as a key part of the transport infrastructure.

On-time delivery, supported for life

Delivery of the 395 to Southampton Docks

We signed the contract in 2005 with the Strategic Rail Authority, we then delivered trains in 2007 for testing, an impressive completion time considering the advanced manufacturing process.

We delivered project 395 ahead of schedule, allowing us ample time to run the first tests and to also see the service start six months before the planned date, entering full service on 13th December 2009.

Being our first project in Europe, the early delivery of the fleet created a positive lasting impression. The timescales for such a sophisticated train would normally be far longer, but our expertise ensured that we excelled, exceeding all contractual expectations. We delivered the initial testing phases, with trains travelling at 100 miles per hour on the DC network within three days of operation. During testing on the CTRL (the high speed network also called the HS1 line) we had the full line running speed within ten days of testing.

Exceptional performance

The performance level of the 395 is amongst the top in Britain. It is currently one of the most reliable EMU (Electric Multiple Units) fleets in the UK.

A target of 30,000 miles per casualty (miles between technical failure) was set but as of April 2012, we are currently serving over 50,000 miles per casualty. We are therefore already achieving nearly double the contractual requirements.

Alistair Dormer, Managing Director, Hitachi Rail Europe, commented, “It was an important milestone for us, and our first opportunity to fully demonstrate the calibre of our high quality rolling stock that we can offer the UK and Europe”.

We have adopted the Japanese maintenance regime ensuring that our passengers can see that train maintenance is our top priority. This makes the 395 fleet one of the best performing fleets in Britain so far; it has been since the first day service, and with our support, will be through until the last.

Reliable, punctual, and efficient

Passenger reaction to Class 395 has been fantastic – in the national passenger surveys, which are independently run, the HS1 service is consistently rated by its commuters as one of the best commuter rail services in the country.

  • 94% of passengers were ‘Very Satisfied’ with the Class 395 service
  • 14% of passengers say they are travelling more frequently because of the Class 395
  • “As far as I’m concerned, it’s better than any other service we’ve got”
  • “Reliable, clean, comfortable and generally very good”
  • “It’s certainly been much more reliable, and the quality of the train is much higher too”
  • 2.4m journeys were made on the Javelin service as part of the London 2012 Olympic Games Transport Plan – a 200 per cent increase
  • “I’ve worked 25 years in the UK rail industry, and this has been the smoothest train introduction I’ve ever experienced” Charles Horton, former Managing Director, Southeastern
Join Dan Barrett, systems integration manager for Hitachi Rail Europe as he explains how the Class 395 Javelin trains in the UK are making journeys home faster and more reliable.