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First Great Western breaks Cardiff to London Train speed record

First Great Western breaks Cardiff to London Train speed record

The special ‘capital to capital’ non-stop train left Cardiff Central Station at 12.21 and reached London Paddington before just after 13.57.

This compares to a regular journey time of over two hours from the Welsh capital, and the previous fastest run of 97 minutes 37 seconds set in August 1988.

The special non-stop High Speed Train was designed to illustrate future possibilities for journey times between the capital cities, when electrification will mean the Cardiff to London journey could be completed in less than two hours.

The Cardiff Paddington non-stop section is very rare and there are only five examples in the Railway Performance Society archive, with the oldest dating back to 1909.

First Great Western Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:


“First Great Western prides itself on innovation and thinking about what we can do to improve rail services for our customers. This was an ambitious attempt, and its was great to be able to beat the record time and demonstrate the possibilities for future Cardiff to London travel.

“South Wales is a very important market for us and around a third of our High Speed Services service the country. It is not only a significant business hub, but also a fantastic cultural and tourism centre, and we recognise the importance of rail travel to those industries and the wider community.”

Secretary of State for Wales, Cheryl Gillan, MP said:

“I am delighted to be on board First Great Western’s non-stop journey from Cardiff to London today.This special train shows how well connected South Wales is to London and just what a short journey it is between the two Capital cities.

“Government is investing nearly £1bn in rail electrification between London and South Wales and this will bring shorter journey times, like that demonstrated by First Great Western today.It will help to bring benefits to business, individuals and families alike.

“With our economic policies we are determined to reduce red tape to make it quicker and easier for business to invest and to tap in to Wales’ skilled and qualified workforce. We are also helping businesses in Wales access opportunities in other UK and overseas markets.

“I want to ensure that visitors and investors know what a great place Wales is socially, culturally and economically and how accessible it is to business. Travelling between London and Cardiff in under two hours is an excellent way to signify this”