This direct tower will enable LNER to further improve service, including the Intercity Express programme, the completion of the introduction of Azuma trains, the realization of the benefits of extending the East Coast main line and a complete increase in schedules to increase the number of routes and speed up journeys. The current system provides for the majority of UK rail services operated by temporary franchisees, with the DfT setting specifications for areas such as performance levels and upgrades. The railway companies then submit bids for the operation of the franchises and the DfT chooses the winners. Extended service to Lincoln began on October 21, 2019, when four stops were extended to Newark Northgate after Lincoln.  This is in addition to the only train per day that offers a total of five departures and returns to and from London King`s Cross. LNER also plans to change schedules for December 2019 that a sixth return to London will be introduced by Lincoln and that 5 additional routes will start on a Saturday from 7 December 2019.  Starting in December 2019, LNER introduced a Harrogate service in London six times a day.  LNER expects that by May 2020, two-hour trains to Bradford and a daily connection to Huddersfield will be introduced once additional Azuma trains have been introduced.   Middlesbrough is expected to begin in December 2021, following the completion of the infrastructure work required to operate the service.  The government-commissioned railway assessment recommended to the railways a “central guiding idea” that Mr. Shapps had in relation to Transport for London, which awarded contracts to companies to operate London`s overground services in concession.
In May 2019, the first batch of 800-series trains began operating with the 801 series trains, also launched in September. These units are based on the Hitachi A-Zug design and LNER has retained the Azuma brand for units originally designated by VTEC.  The first operation of these units allowed the InterCity 125 and InterCity 225 fleets to be gradually replaced. The first Azuma train to enter service was a 9-wagons800/1 on May 15 on the Leeds route at King`s Cross.  Other subclasses of variants 800 and 801 were then put into service, the first two 5-wagons 801/1-Sets that were commissioned on 16 The first batch of 5 800/2 cars commissioned to coincide with the commissioning of the new Cross Lincoln services on October 21, and the first two sets of 9 801/2 cars to be commissioned on November 18, have been commissioned.    Since November 2020, all units in the Azuma fleet have been commissioned, with the exception of 800109, which participated in the Neville Hill TMD derailment in November 2019 and does not yet need to be put back into service.  A spokesperson for LNER said: “We are pleased that LNER`s Ministry of Transport has given a direct price for the continued operation of intercity landings on the East Coast for an additional three years with the possibility of extending two more.