Great Western Railway increases Hitachi Intercity fleet size with new multi-million pound order

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Great Western Railway (GWR) has confirmed it will order an additional seven bi-mode Intercity Express Trains as part of a new multi-million pound deal with Hitachi Rail Europe and its finance partner Eversholt Rail Group.

These trains are in addition to the 57 trains Hitachi Rail is delivering to GWR as part of the UK government’s Intercity Express Programme (IEP) from next year, and the separately financed 29 trains ordered last year that will come into passenger service in 2018.

The new trains will be built by Hitachi Rail Italy at its Pistoia manufacturing facility.

Mark Hopwood, Managing Director, Great Western Railway said:

“This complements the 86 brand new trains due to start operating across the GWR network next year. They give us greater flexibility in our fleet to deliver faster more frequent services and additional seats for customers, particularly while Network Rail completes the modernisation of the Great Western Main Line.”

Mary Kenny, Chief Executive Officer of Eversholt Rail Group added:

“We are delighted to extend our partnership with FirstGroup, GWR and Hitachi to deliver more new high-quality trains that will enhance the passengers’ journey experience.”

Karen Boswell, Managing Director of Hitachi Rail Europe said of the deal announcement;

“Hitachi is pleased GWR and Eversholt Rail Group have exercised one of the options they have with us to increase their fleet. This further strengthens our working relationship with two major customers. It is a further endorsement of our current work delivering modern, high-speed modern trains, connecting people and communities across the GWR network.

“The iconic image of this brand new, high-speed fleet operating on a railway rich in heritage will be another landmark moment for Hitachi and one we are delighted to make a reality.”

Maurizio Manfellotto, CEO of Hitachi Rail Italy, highlighted:

“This extended train order highlights the success of Hitachi Rail as a group, which includes increasing demand for our facilities in Italy. Hitachi Rail Italy is particularly proud of this further proof of trust in our capabilities, and we are working hard to deliver a train fleet that meets the expectations of Great Western Railway and its own customers”.

“These new trains will be high-speed Intercity, equipped with hybrid traction, and will have on board the best technologies to meet passenger comfort and safety”

First all-electric train runs on Great Western Main Line

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A new electric train has been successfully tested on the Great Western Main Line for the first time, in a major milestone for the electrification project.

new Class 800 Intercity Express Train, built by Hitachi Rail, was driven from Reading to Didcot on the mornings of Saturday 16 July and Sunday 17 July in a series of exercises designed to test the overhead electric power system.

The train made two test runs between the stations, at speeds of up to 125mph, having arrived from its London depot.

The test was managed by Network Rail, which is currently electrifying the entire line between London Paddington and Bristol, Cardiff, Oxford and Newbury, while the train was supplied by Agility Trains and Hitachi Rail Europe. The electrification between Reading and Didcot has been completed first to enable it to serve as a testing ground for the power systems and the trains themselves.

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This is a great step forward, and I’d like to pay tribute to the team who have worked very hard to make this happen.

This is the future of rail being built before our eyes and it’s a very exciting time to be involved in this project. This weekend we’ve come a big step closer to providing faster, quieter, and more efficient services to the people of the region who depend on railways.

Mark Langman, route managing director for Network Rail Western

Testing will now continue as construction proceeds on the Greater West programme, with public services scheduled to begin from 2019.