New state-of-the-art trains have been unveiled for the Aberdeen to London service.
London North East Railway (LNER) marked the arrival of its first Azuma train, which will transport passengers to the capital three times a day.
The diesel/electric hybrids will also replace LNER’s diesel high-speed trains which have served the Aberdeen route for about 40 years.
The new trains will also offer increased legroom, more seats and feature new technology, making them more resilient and more environmentally friendly than the trains they replace.
Managing director David Horne said the move will improve LNER’s carbon footprint.
He added: “With the old trains, they ran all the way from Aberdeen to London using diesel.
“But now we have these new Azuma hybrid trains, which can switch to electricity once we get on to the electrical network.
“For 75% of the journey from Aberdeen to London we will be using electricity and that is something that is very important to us.”
The move comes as the firm prepares to replace all 45 of the existing trains in its fleet with 65 new Azuma trains – a project which will be completed by June 2020.
David continued: “The trains were ordered in 2013, so the arrival of the inaugural Azuma service is the culmination of six years of hard work and preparation.
“Over the past year we’ve been doing a lot of testing and training so that our crews based at the Aberdeen Clayhills depot are all prepared to welcome customers on to these new Azuma trains.
“The Granite City is the gateway to the UK’s largest national park, the Caingorms, as well as being surrounded by some of Scotland’s most scenic coastlines.
“It’s a magnificent destination all year round and what better way to get to and from Aberdeen in style and speed than with our Azuma trains.
“We’re also pleased to be able to respond to customer feedback by increasing the space available for luggage onboard our longer distance services where customers typically travel with more bags.”
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Claire Ansley, customer experience director, said: “So much work has gone into this from all over the business and it’s a really exciting time for the East Coast.
“It’s the first time they’ve had any new trains for over 30 years and getting them into Scotland is fantastic.”
She added: “We’ve had really good feedback so far.
“We’ve obviously had teething problems like any other fleet, but by and large its been really positive from both staff and customers.
“It’s a reliable service and a good alternative for people to use.”
LNER operates three services in both directions on a daily basis between Aberdeen and London King’s Cross.
An additional fourth service also operates on weekdays in both directions between Aberdeen and Leeds.