The first of a fleet of Hitachi-built bullet trains arrives in Britain. (Photo courtesy of Hitachi Ltd.)LONDON -- The first train in Britain's Japanese-built bullet-train fleet has arrived in the southern England city of Southampton, with officials gearing up for tests before the trains start operating in 2009.
The high-speed trains are being constructed by Hitachi Ltd. They will travel the 109-kilometer route between London and Ashford in southeast England at a top speed of 225 kilometers per hour. They will also link London with sports grounds during the 2012 London Olympic Games.
On Aug. 23, the first six-carriage train arrived, with officials expecting to have 29 trains (174 carriages) running by 2009. The total cost of the trains is expected to reach 50 billion yen.
A Hitachi official said entering the British railway industry was a big step for the company in Europe, where the market is dominated by German company Siemens and France's Alstom.
"Entering Britain is a big step that will help strengthen our footholds in places like Eastern Europe," the official said.