Hitachi has rolled out the first two Intercity Express Trains manufactured in Italy for Great Western Railway (GWR)’s Devon and Cornwall route (via Reading and Wiltshire). The trains will be sent from Hitachi’s factory in Pistoia, Italy by rail through Austria, Germany, and France, to the UK via the Channel Tunnel.
The two trains, the first with fully finished interiors, will join three prototype trains already being tested in the South West of England. The tests carried out since summer 2017 involve two five carriage and one nine carriage prototypes. The test programme is based out of Hitachi’s newly built depot in Bristol.
The Intercity Express Train has been designed to withstand the region’s variable weather conditions, including routes along the Dawlish coast. The trains come with more seats, better on-board facilities and will ensure shorter journey times, saving as much as 14 minutes between London Paddington and Penzance. Passengers will benefit from new on-board technology, including real-time journey updates and seat reservation screens.
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.
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 summer 2018 a second wave of 36 modern Intercity Express Trains will begin running from London Paddington, via Reading, Wiltshire, Somerset, along coastal routes in Devon and Cornwall and as far south as Penzance. For the manufacturing of these trains, in addition to the production plant in the UK (which is at full capacity), Hitachi Rail is also using its facility in Pistoia, Italy, making use of a greater production capacity.
“Eversholt Rail has invested £497m (EUR 560 million) in these new Class 802 trains, built by Hitachi Rail for operation on Great Western Railway, to modernize the rail connection and passenger experience from Devon and Cornwall to London. The despatch of the first completed trains from Hitachi Rail’s Pistoia’s works marks a significant milestone in the project for all parties and stakeholders,” Mary Kenny, Chief Executive Officer at Eversholt Rail, who are financing the deal, said.