The first of the new Intercity Express Trains specifically built for Devon and Cornwall entered service this morning, Monday 20 August.
The Class 802 Intercity Express Train (802003 and 005) ran for the very first time with passengers on board, forming the 0553 Plymouth to London Paddington service. A second train (802 006 and 007) formed the 0730 London Paddington to Penzance service.
Great Western Railway Manging Director Mark Hopwood said:
“We know how important the railway is to the economies and communities of the South West and I am delighted to see this first new train for Devon and Cornwall services carry passengers.
“Already delivering significant improvements elsewhere on the GWR network these new trains will, with an improved timetable, enable us to offer a step change in passenger transport.
“The trains will help us provide faster, more frequent services into the South West, each offering up to 24% more seats per train, in greater comfort and with improved on board facilities.”
Last year, the first wave of Intercity Express Trains began running on the historic Great Western main line, connecting London to key UK cities including Reading, Swindon, Bath, Bristol and Cardiff. Production of these trains is continuing in the UK at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
From today a second wave of 36 modern Intercity Express Trains began running between London Paddington, via Reading, Wiltshire, Somerset, along coastal routes in Devon and Cornwall and as far south as Penzance.
The Intercity Express Train harnesses Hitachi’s pioneering bullet train technology, known for its quality and reliability. It has also been designed to withstand the region’s variable weather conditions, including routes along the Dawlish coast.
Passengers can expect more seats, better on-board facilities and shorter journey times, saving as much as 14 minutes between London Paddington and Penzance once the new timetables are introduced in 2019.
The entire fleet is fitted with hybrid technology, allowing trains to use both diesel and electric power, meaning passengers can enjoy the benefits of new trains as soon as possible.
Parts supplied from South West businesses
The new trains are seen as a boost for regional economies along the route, providing greater connectivity for businesses and tourist destinations.
GWR’s order for the new fleet has also had a direct impact on firms in the region. Businesses located along the Great Western route were chosen by Hitachi to supply parts for the new Intercity Express Trains include:
- Floors from Cornwall (TiFlex)
- Pantographs from Somerset (Brecknell Willis)
- Braking systems from Wiltshire (Knorr-Bremse)