GWR unveils new fleet to celebrate 175 years of the Great Western Main Line
30 June 2016 • Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review
At a ceremony marking 175 years since the first passenger service between Bristol and London, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin unveiled state-of-the-art new trains for GWR service.
GWR Class 800/1 fleet funded by InterCity Express Programme
The new fleet of Class 800/1 and Class 802 (also known as AT300s) trains are set to transform rail travel in the south-west and Wales. The Class 800 train, specially designed and built by Hitachi for the government’s £5.7 billion InterCity Express Programme (IEP), is said to generate over 700 direct jobs and support thousands in the supply chain.
The new trains will include more seats, greater legroom, free Wi-Fi, power sockets at each seat, LCD seat reservation indicators and increased space in overhead luggage racks. The 57 trains are expected to operate on services between London and Reading, Oxford, Swindon, Bath, Bristol and South Wales as well as north and south Cotswold lines, and from 2018 on services between London and Devon and Cornwall.
“Great Western Railway’s first state-of-the-art IEP train offers a glimpse of the benefits passengers in the south-west and Wales will enjoy from 2017”
Attending the ceremony, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Britain’s railways have a glorious past and even brighter future thanks to the record amounts we are investing to modernise the network, deliver better journeys for passengers and drive economic growth.
“The unveiling of Great Western Railway’s first state-of-the-art IEP train offers a glimpse of the benefits passengers in the south-west and Wales will enjoy from 2017. These include more seats, greater comfort, better reliability and faster, more frequent services.”
“The new trains will result in more frequent and faster journeys and an increase in the number of seats”
Great Western Railway Managing Director, Mark Hopwood, added: “On this special anniversary we are looking not just back at our rich heritage but forward at a transformational investment programme.
“The new trains will result in more frequent and faster journeys and an increase in the number of seats. These, and a range of further passenger benefits, will enable communities and businesses across the Great Western network to prosper and we are delighted to invite observers to witness first-hand the step change electrification and our new fleet will bring.”
Andy Rogers, Projects Director of Hitachi Rail Europe said: “This is a momentous day for GWR, as it celebrates 175 years of the Great Western Main Line and looks forward to an exciting future for fare-paying customers. The brand new fleet of Hitachi trains that enter into service from mid-2017 will transform passengers’ experience to and from the South West and bring significant benefits to people and communities along one of the UK’s most important railway lines. Hitachi is, therefore, delighted to be showcasing one of its brand new Intercity Express Programme (IEP) trains as part of today’s celebration.”
Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, commented on the unveiling: “Passengers will be pleased to see new trains coming in on their route. We know that their top priorities include faster, more reliable and comfortable trains – with more of them to serve the increasing numbers of passengers.”