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Hitachi wins $490m deal for high-speed trains in UK

Eco-friendly rail cars to serve East Midlands region starting in 2022

The Hitachi-built trains will be powered by a diesel engine that the company says cuts harmful emissions by up to 90% compared with conventional models. (Image courtesy of Hitachi)

TOKYO -- Hitachi will deliver a fleet of 165 high-speed, electro-diesel train cars to the U.K. under an order worth 400 million pounds ($488 million), the company announced Wednesday.

The new trains will serve the East Midlands region starting 2022, connecting cities such as Sheffield, Nottingham and Leicester to London. They will offer free Wi-Fi service and electric outlets, features popular among passengers. U.K.-based unit Hitachi Rail received the order.

Hitachi's trains will be leased to railroad operator Abellio UK by rolling stock lease company Rock Rail, which will raise funds from institutional investors.

The trains will run as five-car units, reaching a maximum speed of 125 mph.

In areas without electric rail infrastructure, the trains will be powered by a cutting-edge diesel engine that Hitachi says cuts harmful emissions by up to 90% compared with conventional models.

Hitachi is setting its sights on overseas markets for its rail business, basing the segment's headquarters in the U.K. The business is expanding through strategic acquisitions, including an Italian rolling stock company, AnsaldoBreda, in 2015.

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