- Test train shipped from Japan arrives in Southampton port
- Testing of new trains to begin this summer ahead of 2018 passenger service
- Passengers will benefit from more space and shorter journey times
The first Intercity Express Train bound for GWR’s Devon and Cornwall route has now arrived in the UK.
From 2018 a new fleet of Class 802 Intercity Express Trains will connect London Paddington to Exeter, Plymouth, Penzance and many more communities.
A five car test train (802 001) built at Hitachi’s factory in Japan arrived in Southampton port this morning, Saturday 17 June. The train was welcomed onto UK soil by GWR (train operator), Hitachi (train manufacturer) and Eversholt Rail (financiers of the Class 802 fleet).
The train will now be made ready to begin testing in the coming weeks prior to entering passenger service from summer next year. Two further test trains are due to arrive in the UK shortly.
The new fleet harnesses Hitachi’s pioneering Japanese bullet train technology, known for its quality and reliability. Passengers can expect more seats, better on-board facilities and shorter journey times.
Passengers will also benefit from new on-board technology, including real-time journey updates and seat reservation screens.
The 36 train fleet is fitted with bi-mode technology, allowing trains to use both diesel and electric power, and passengers to enjoy the benefits of new trains as soon as possible.
The Intercity Express Train is designed to withstand the region’s variable weather conditions, including routes along the Dawlish coast.
From this autumn, the first wave of InterCity Express Trains will run on the historic Great Western main line, connecting London to key UK cities including Reading, Bath, Bristol and Cardiff. Production of these trains is already underway in the UK at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
From Summer 2018 a second wave of new trains will begin running as far south as Penzance along coastal routes in Devon and Cornwall. The first of these trains arrived in the UK today.
The entire fleet of 93 trains will be in passenger service by the end of 2019.
Mark Hopwood, Managing Director at Great Western Railways,said:
“Today marks another significant step towards delivering new trains, more seats, more frequent services and quicker journeys; and a step change in passenger experience on the Great Western.
“The first UK built Intercity Express Train rolled off the UK production plant last December for introduction in passenger service later this year, and it is fantastic to this first train for Devonand Cornwall arrive in the UK.”
Berry Sas, Projects Director at Hitachi Rail Europe, said:
“Passengers travelling between London and the South West are today a step closer to experiencing modern trains. Our trains are designed to ensure passengers on long journeys have a comfortable experience with more luggage space and a smooth ride.
“We are now excited to begin testing on the region’s iconic railway as we continue towards the brand new fleet entering passenger service next year”
Mary Kenny, Chief Executive Officer at Eversholt Rail, said
“As the owner of this new fleet of Intercity Express trains, we are delighted to welcome the first Class 802 to the UK. This is a fantastic addition to our growing portfolio. We will continue to work closely with our partners GWR and Hitachi to support a smooth transition of the Class 802 into passenger service during 2018”.