The Intercity Express Programme (IEP)

For this important step change in train travel in the UK, we are providing new electric and bi-mode trains, for both the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line. The Department for Transport started the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) in 2005 to consider what should replace the ageing High Speed Train (HST) fleet.


Manufactured in the UK, for the UK

As part of the IEP, Network Rail will deliver infrastructure changes and Agility Trains (a consortium of Hitachi Rail Limited and John Laing Investments) as the Train Service Provider will deliver the Hitachi-made, Hitachi-maintained trains into passenger service each day.

In July 2012, the DfT signed the contract with Agility Trains. For Hitachi Rail, this meant the start of a programme including the build of a state-of-the-art train manufacturing plant in the UK, the creation of an initial 700 jobs in the North East of England, investment in new and refurbished depots across the countries and the design, build, and introduction into service of 122 highly reliable, fully serviceable, modern trains.

The family of new Class 800 series trains will constitute a step change in capacity, improved reliability and reduced environmental impact on every train journey. Hitachi Rail will carry out the maintenance for the next 27.5 years.

Our trains are a combination of fully electric and bi-mode trains, the latter have diesel and electric propulsion. The trains can travel at up to 125 mph, in various formations from five to ten cars. IEP will provide an efficient means for passengers to travel on electrified and non-electrified routes, as well as enhancing the customer experience with more modern trains, better interiors and seating arrangements, and of course, faster journey times.

The Class 800/801 trains - facts and figures

  • Total of 866 carriages (122 trains) being manufactured – 369 for the Great Western Main Line and 497 for the East Coast Main Line
  • Financed through Agility Trains, a consortium of Hitachi and John Laing
  • The first trains started operation on the Great Western Main Line in 2017 and will join the East Coast Main Line from 2018
  • The total value of the IEP contract will be £5.7bn over 27.5 years. This includes the manufacture and delivery of the trains, new maintenance depots and infrastructure upgrades. The contract is also for the ongoing maintenance and servicing of the fleet
  • Hitachi has invested £82 million in a state-of-the-art Rail Vehicle Manufacturing Facility to build the bulk of the trains – 110
  • 12 pre-series trains are being shipped to the UK from the company’s Kasado Works in Japan
  • Key benefits: environmentally efficient, faster trains, reduced wear on the rail infrastructure, increased passenger comfort and capacity (in the morning peak, capacity into King’s Cross will be increased by 28% and into Paddington by 40%)
  • Key priorities for the interior design were: safety, accessibility, capacity and comfort of passengers
  • The interiors were designed in consultation with the Train Operating Companies and rail passenger and safety groups
  • Hitachi Rail has built strong links with the British and European supply chain
Arrival of the first of the Class 800 trains for the British Intercity Express Programme in Southampton Port
Hitachi unveils first UK built Intercity Express Train