Hitachi Rail Europe announced has been selected by FirstGroup as preferred supplier, subject to contract, for the supply of 29 trains for the new First Great Western franchise.
The fleet of 29 bi-mode AT300 trains would run primarily from London Paddington to Plymouth and Penzance, replacing 40-year-old high speed trains on the key intercity route to the south west. Made up of seven nine-car and 22 five-car trains, with an option for 30 more, the mixed fleet would allow for flexible use, including 10-car formations (two five-cars coupled together) for through-services to/from the capital.
The fleet of AT300 trains will be closely related to the Class 800 bi-mode trains designed for the Department for Transport’s Intercity Express Programme, but will utilise higher engine operating power to cope with the gradients in Devon and Cornwall. They will run as electric trains between London and Newbury, and are equipped with bigger fuel tanks to cater for the long distance journeys to Plymouth and Penzance.