Over the weekend the first Intercity Express Train (IET) for Greater Western Railway’s (GWR) Devon and Cornwall route arrived in Southampton.
Built at the manufacturer’s factory in Japan, the five-car Class 802 test train was welcomed into the UK by GWR, Hitachi and the financier of the new fleet Eversholt Rail.
From 2018, the 36-train fleet will run on connections such as London Paddington to Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance.
The bi-mode train harnesses Hitachi’s bullet train technology and will now be made ready to begin testing prior to entering passenger service from summer next year. Two further test trains are due to arrive in the UK shortly.
Passengers will benefit from new on-board technology, including real-time journey updates and seat reservation screens.
From this autumn, the first wave of IET will run on the historic Great Western main line, connecting London to key UK cities including Reading, Bath, Bristol and Cardiff. Production of these trains is already underway in the UK at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
From summer 2018 a second wave of new trains will begin running as far south as Penzance along coastal routes in Devon and Cornwall. The first of these trains arrived in the UK today.
The entire fleet of 93 trains will be in passenger service by the end of 2019.
Mark Hopwood, Managing Director at Great Western Railways, said: “The first UK built Intercity Express Train rolled off the UK production plant last December for introduction in passenger service later this year, and it is fantastic to this first train for Devon and Cornwall arrive in the UK.”