Rail minister Andrew Jones was at King’s Cross, where he welcomed the ‘next step in a significant transformation’, while LNER managing director David Horne said the occasion was ‘a momentous event’.
LNER chairman Robin Gisby was on board, and he told Railnews: ‘This is the end of the first year of LNER. We’ve stablised it. Performance and passenger satisfaction are improving. We now have two years to complete the job. Our Mk4 sets and locos were getting just too old.
‘Tomorrow we start carrying passengers on the Leeds route. It’s great news.’
The demonstration run arrived at Peterborough ahead of time, but it is unlikely that the East Coast timetable can be rewritten for the faster fleet before December 2020.
For the moment Azumas will run only between London and Leeds, while continuing problems of electromagnetic interference between Doncaster and Leeds should have been dealt with by the end of this year.