First New Trains In A Generation Launched By GWR

Great Western Railway’s brand new Intercity Express Train has carried passengers for the first time, marking the next stage in the biggest fleet upgrade on the Great Western in 40 years.

Providing more seats, more frequent trains, and faster, more comfortable journeys the Hitachi built Class 800 Intercity Express Train came into service this morning with trains 800005 and 800006 forming the 10-carriage service operating the 0600 from Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington.

The new trains have up to 24% more seating capacity than the High Speed Train they replace; increased legroom and luggage space, and more tables. A new timetable will be introduced once Network Rail’s electrification programme has been completed in early 2019, adding 40% more seats than today and providing quicker, more frequent journeys.

The trains will benefit from Network Rail’s route modernisation programme with electrification already delivered to Maidenhead; congestion-busting upgrades to the railway such as a dive under at Acton to take freight traffic off the mainline; improved stations with longer platforms and transformation of signalling, and track to help improve journeys for passengers.

Next year GWR will extend the fleet to serve Devon & Cornwall. A further 36 Intercity Express Trains – (known as Class 802s) has also been ordered from Hitachi to improve services between London Paddington and Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance. These trains are being built to cope with the more demanding geography of Devon and Cornwall and are due in passenger service next summer.

In total Hitachi will deliver 36 x 5 carriage and 21 x 9 carriage Class 800 trains, and 22 x 5 carriage and 14 x 9 carriage Class 802 trains, with the full fleet due in service by December 2018. A significant timetable change in January 2019 will realize the full capacity and frequency benefits the the new trains will bring with journey times from Bristol slashed by up to 17 minutes, and by up to 14 minutes from Swansea.

The IETs operate using bi-mode technology, allowing trains to use both diesel and electric power, which is allowing passengers to benefit from the new trains from today.

The Government-led Intercity Express Programme, funded by Agility Trains, brought together Hitachi Rail, GWR, VTEC and Network Rail to design, develop and build the new class of state-of-the-art, modern trains and supporting depot infrastructure for the Great Western and East Coast routes.