The first of a new generation of high-tech passenger trains arrived in the UK. This is a Class 800 train, specially designed and built by Hitachi for the government’s £5.7 billion (7.9 million euros) InterCity Express Programme (IEP).
The trains will revolutionise journeys in the south west and north, with more seats on each train, more services, reduced journey times and improved reliability. The first train will now undergo testing to get the fleet ready for service on Great Western from 2017 and East Coast from 2018. All 122 trains will be in service by 2020.
The new IEP trains will bring faster services and additional capacity between London and major UK cities including Reading, Bristol, Cardiff and Swansea along the Great Western Main Line, and Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh on the East Coast Main Line. IEP will increase the number of seats in the morning peak into London Paddington by 40% and 28% in to Kings Cross.
Travelling at a top speed of 201 km/h, IEP will deliver reductions in average journey times of up to 15 minutes, increasing connectivity and boosting the economy. The new trains are capable of running at 225 km/h and the government recently confirmed a study would be carried out on providing the infrastructure needed for IEP trains on East Coast to run at this speed.
“These trains will transform rail travel for passengers travelling between many of the great towns and cities of England, Scotland and Wales; provide a massive jobs boost for Britain and deliver billions of pounds of benefits for our economy,” Rail Minister Claire Perry said.