In 2012 Ricardo was appointed by Hitachi to provide specialist advisory services - including systems engineering, RAMS, human factors and EMC - during the development and delivery of the Intercity Express Train in the UK.
The Intercity Express Programme (IEP) was commissioned by the UK’s Department for Transport to provide more capacity and faster journey times on the country's East Coast and Great Western main lines.
Based on Hitachi’s AT300 platform, the fleet offered a mix of electric vehicles, drawing power from the AC 25kV overhead wires, and diesel-electric bi-mode models for use on routes where there are sections that are yet to be electrified.
As well as being more energy efficient, the new vehicle would give greater flexibility for operators, with sets delivered in configurations of between five and ten cars. It would also provide passengers with a more modern, comfortable environment over InterCity 125 and InterCity 225 stock they were replacing, several units of which were over 40 years old.