Great Western Railway’s first Intercity Express Train has made its maiden voyage to Cornwall, as part of a very special test journey from London Paddington to Penzance.
Part of an expo event with Cornwall Council to showcase improved rail services for the South West, the Intercity Express Train left London Paddington at 05:33 and arrived at Penzance Station at 11:01.
Transport minister Paul Maynard said: “We are upgrading our railways to deliver the biggest modernisation programme for over a century and the improvements that passengers have asked for.
“These new trains will offer greater capacity, reduced journey times and more reliable services from London to Penzance.”
From 2017 this new fleet of Intercity Express Trains will connect London Paddington to Bristol and south Wales and from 2018 they will connect London Paddington to Exeter, Plymouth, Penzance and many more communities.
GWR commercial development director, Matthew Golton, said: “We know how important the railway is to the economies and communities of the south-west, and today’s event marks another milestone in delivering the improvements we know our passengers wish to see.
“These trains will help us deliver faster, more frequent services into the South West, providing up to a fifth more seats per train.”
The new rolling stock replaces 40-year-old trains currently serving this key intercity route.
The 93 train fleet is fitted with bi-mode technology, allowing trains to use both diesel and electric power, and passengers to enjoy the benefits of new trains as soon as possible.
Prior to entering service next summer, the train will now be made ready to begin testing on the network.
The new fleet harnesses Hitachi’s pioneering Japanese bullet train technology, known for its quality and reliability.
Find out more with this short film: