Seeing the brand new Lumo fleet carrying passengers is an extremely special moment for the entire Hitachi Rail business in the UK.
It’s not because this 100% electric fleet is six times greener than flying between London and Edinburgh – perfectly encapsulating how rail is part of the solution to tackle climate change ahead of COP26.
For me, the fleet is special because of the incredible team effort required to deliver these new trains.
The pandemic threw, and continues to throw, new challenges for UK manufacturers.
In my opinion, there are two major factors that helped overcome these challenges:
The incredible and resolute team Hitachi Rail has built in the UK; and
the clear vision and collaborative spirit of Lumo, Beacon Rail and FirstGroup.
Everyone involved has been resilient, adaptable and determined throughout.
Growing our UK manufacturing capabilities
The Lumo fleet was another milestone for our North East factory.
The manufacturing of the Class 803s was part of our steady and incremental expansion of Hitachi Rail’s manufacturing capabilities and upskilling programme in the UK.
To date, the trains are the largest manufacturing scope we have delivered. Nearly the entire build took place at our UK factory. We started with just an empty body shell, with all the wiring, piping and drivers cab being built from scratch.
It is also the highest percentage of parts to come from our UK and North East supply chain. Ceiling panels, metalwork, fabrication, side panels and metal bracketry are new additions to be sourced from our growing local supply chain.
This prioritisation of domestic suppliers has resulted in Hitachi Rail spending over £1.8bn with UK suppliers. We are delivering truly British built trains, with the economic benefits being felt across the country.
Meanwhile, the fact that were able to keep the factory operational and safe during initial public health challenges of the pandemic is testament to professionalism of everyone at the factory, our depots, Human Resources, Procurement, Health and Safety. These teams continue to work tirelessly to manage the longer-term challenges of the pandemic.
New Lumo Fleet - Manufacturing Video
Problem solving in partnership
None of this would be possible without the support of Lumo, First Group and Beacon Rail.
From the start, we worked closely to deliver Lumo’s desired passenger experience. The customer’s clear vision allowed us to support Lumo in the design and procurement of important features, including new reclining seats, lighting and Wi-Fi entertainment centre. All of this has helped to create the Lumo experience.
When it came to challenges presented by the pandemic, all partners adopted a ‘problem solving’ approach. Decision-making was collective and collaborative, helping to navigate challenges efficiently.
A team effort
We are all still learning and adapting to the evolving challenges of the pandemic on both a personal and professional level. But today marks a new chapter on the East Coast with the successful delivery of the Lumo fleet and this occasion epitomises everything good about the UK rail industry when we work together.