Centres of excellence across the UK

Building on our experience at Ashford Train Maintenance Centre, Hitachi can offer turnkey maintenance and service delivery solutions to the train operator. Our Ashford facility was built and established as a centre of excellence with attention to detail at all levels, and has contributed to the Class 395 High Speed services being scored among the best in the UK by passengers. The dual voltage Class 395s built by Hitachi are the UK’s first domestic High Speed commuter trains and were delivered on time with a preview service launched six months ahead of schedule in June 2009.

In the run-up to delivery of the first Class 800/801 trains for the Intercity Express Programme (IEP), we are now commencing mobilisation of the support infrastructure that will give Hitachi a combination of new, refurbished and existing depots in the UK.

Centres of excellence across the UK


The installed equipment in the new and refurbished Hitachi centres of excellence is tailored to meet the maintenance requirements of the fleets of trains planned to be stabled there. The designs are future proofed to meet the likely requirement generated by growing numbers of passengers and new rolling stock designs, and are comprehensively equipped with combinations of typically:

  • Bogie / equipment drops
  • Tandem wheel lathes
  • Carriage wash plants
  • Automatic inspection equipment
  • Synchronous train lift
  • Fully isolated 25KV AC and/or 750V DC train test track

The depots will be capable of:

  • Whole life maintenance, repair, and overhaul of Hitachi fleets
  • Overnight servicing and cleaning of Hitachi fleets as well as classic train-sets should that be required
  • Bespoke services for other rail vehicles including light repair, wheel turning, modifications, fuelling, servicing and overhaul
  • Providing skilled technical support in the Train Operators’ control room and line of route

Existing fleet improvement and upgrade

Hitachi maintenance depots can also support fleet upgrades, for example the installation of 194 Hitachi IGBT traction packages on a fleet of Class 465 commuter trains in 2009/10 at the rate of two trains per week. We have since provided ongoing maintenance of the equipment. This project has dramatically improved the performance of the traction equipment on the trains, achieving an MDBF for the traction equipment in excess of 35 million miles (56 million km). The project was undertaken at Ashford utilising the in-house capabilities of the depot maintenance team, and was managed on time and to budget, with zero failures attributed to equipment fitment.

Looking ahead

In early 2014 Hitachi announced relocation of the Global Headquarters of its rail systems business to the UK to support its strategy for global business expansion. A key component of this will be to offer maintenance services on a global basis. However, Hitachi’s largest current rail project is the UK Intercity Express Programme to manufacture and support 866 Class 800/801 carriages that will replace the ageing fleet of trains on the Great Western and East Coast Main Lines. Under this agreement, Hitachi Maintenance is contracted to maintain these fleets under a “Total Service Provision” arrangement for 27.5 years. The IEP contract also requires Hitachi to build or completely refurbish four major new maintenance facilities.

Hitachi is building on its solid foundation of maintenance practice in Ashford to fulfill the demanding requirements of the IEP contract with regard to fleet availability and reliability of the trains. The newly built and refurbished depots across the UK will benefit from the success factors at Ashford, together with the lessons learned from ongoing Kaizen activity. Close collaboration with our manufacturing colleagues also means we are continually improving our systems in pursuit of ever better reliability and maintainability. We have no interest in standing still and Hitachi Maintenance will continue to innovate, and seek out global best practice in both railway systems and other relevant industries to achieve our long term vision.