The first Intercity Express Train bound for GWR’s Devon and Cornwall route arrived at the Port of Southampton this weekend (June 17).
The five car test train built at Hitachi’s factory in Japan, arrived aboard the Wallenius Wilhelmsen vessel Tonsberg.
ABP Southampton Director, Alastair Welch, said: “The Port of Southampton is proud to work in partnership with the shipping line Wallenius Wilhelmsen to enable the safe delivery of the Hitachi trains that will transform rail travel for the communities of Devon and Cornwall.”
From 2018 a new fleet of Class 802 Intercity Express Trains will connect London Paddington to Exeter, Plymouth, Penzance and many more communities.
The train was welcomed at the port by GWR (train operator), Hitachi (train manufacturer) and Eversholt Rail (financiers of the Class 802 fleet).
The train will now be made ready to begin testing in the coming weeks prior to entering passenger service from summer next year. Two further test trains are due to arrive in the UK shortly.
The new fleet harnesses Hitachi’s pioneering Japanese bullet train technology, known for its quality and reliability. Passengers can expect more seats, better on-board facilities and shorter journey times.
Mark Hopwood, Managing Director at Great Western Railways, said: “Today marks another significant step towards delivering new trains, more seats, more frequent services and quicker journeys; and a step change in passenger experience on the Great Western.
“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.”
Berry Sas, Projects Director at Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “Passengers travelling between London and the South West are today a step closer to experiencing modern trains. Our trains are designed to ensure passengers on long journeys have a comfortable experience with more luggage space and a smooth ride.
“We are now excited to begin testing on the region’s iconic railway as we continue towards the brand new fleet entering passenger service next year”
Mary Kenny, Chief Executive Officer at Eversholt Rail, said “As the owner of this new fleet of Intercity Express trains, we are delighted to welcome the first Class 802 to the UK. This is a fantastic addition to our growing portfolio. We will continue to work closely with our partners GWR and Hitachi to support a smooth transition of the Class 802 into passenger service during 2018”.