MTU will supply a specially-designed powerpack built around its 12V 1600 R80L engine, with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), induction generator, and Capos starting system.

The contract is worth more than €200m, which includes maintenance for the full 27.5-year term of the train service provision agreement signed in July between the Agility Trains consortium of John Laing and Hitachi and Britain's Department for Transport(DfT).

Hitachi Rail Europe CEO Mr Alistair Dormer told IRJ at InnoTrans that the Series 1600 has completed 1000 hours of testing on a test rig at Hitachi's Kasado plant in Japan, and that the contract will be finalised next month. Dormer also revealed that Hitachi will announce its preferred braking supplier within the next two months.

Hitachi will deliver a total of 596 Super Express Train (SET) vehicles, which will replace most of the ageing 200km/h High Speed Trains (HSTs) used on the Great Western Main Line (phase 1) and East Coast Main Line (phase 2). The fleet of 92 electric and bi-mode trains will be maintained at new depots in Swansea, Bristol, London (North Pole) and Doncaster. Under the fixed-price train provision agreement, Hitachi will maintain the fleet for 27.5 years.

The initial phase comprises 21 nine-car electric trains and 36 five-car bi-mode trains for the Great Western franchise (369 vehicles), while the second phase includes 12 five-car electric trains, 10 five-car bi-mode trains, and 13 nine-car bi-mode trains for the East Coast franchise (227 vehicles).

All trains will be fitted with at least one powerpack, which will allow the electric sets to operate under their own power in the event of an overhead electrification failure.

The first four trains, all bi-mode five-car sets, will be assembled at Kasado before final assembly moves to a new purpose-built facility at Newton Aycliffe in northeast England.

The first train for Great Western will be completed in June 2014, and test operation on the British network is due to begin in May 2015. The trains will enter service on the Great Western Main Line from April 2017, and on the East Coast Main Line from June 2018.