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.
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.