Hitachi’s test trains for the new fleet of Intercity Express Trains on the UK’s Great Western Railway (GWR) in the South West have left Japan , heading to UK. The train is due to arrive at the Port of Southampton in June.

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The Class 802 trains, the five-car bi-mode train, will be tested on Devon and Cornwall route to London. The new train is for use on the line linking Paddington to Exeter and Cornwall via Reading and Newbury.

It is part of what GWR describes as the “biggest fleet upgrade in a generation”, aimed at reducing journey times and increasing capacity. This new train is the same as the Class 800 model currently being built for other parts of the network, but has a higher powered engine designed specifically for use on the Berks and Hants line to overcome “more challenging geography” in Devon and Cornwall.

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In 2015 GWR placed a £361m order through leasing company Eversholt Rail for 22 five-car and seven nine-car trains. An option for seven additional nine-car sets was subsequently exercised in August 2016. The trains will be introduced on services from London Paddington to Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance from next summer.

The remainder of the GWR class 802 fleet will be assembled at Hitachi Rail Italy’s plant in Pistoia, where production of the vehicles is now underway.

The Class 802 fleet is due to enter passenger service in 2018 summer.

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