Great Western Railway (GWR) carries over a hunred million passengers across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of southern England every year
Autumn 2017 was a busy season for GWR, with the end of the year approaching the company launched its brand new Intercity Express Train, marking the next stage in the biggest fleet upgrade on the Great Western in forty years.
The new Class 800, ten-carriage train has been built in Britain by Hitachi, it carried passengers for the first time on 16th October 2017, carrying early risers on the pre-dawn service from Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington.
In 2018 GWR extended the fleet to serve Devon and Cornwall. A further 36 Intercity Express Trains – (known as Class 802s) have also been ordered from Hitachi’s factory in Pistoia, Italy to improve services between London Paddington and Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance. These trains are being built to cope with the more demanding geography of Devon and Cornwall and are due in passenger service in Spring 2019.
New trains and more seats
Over 10,000 more train seats will be available to passengers in 2019. Before Christmas GWR took delivery of its final Class 800 Intercity Express Train (IET) from manufacturer Hitachi, with a further 127 (Class 802) carriages – 15 trains – still to be rolled out during 2019.
Replacing 40-year-old High Speed Trains, the IETs have up to 24 per cent more seats per train. Following completion of Network Rail’s electrification to Newbury new Electrostar, suburban commuter, trains have also been able to run to the town for the first time having been rolled out across London and the Thames Valley during late 2017 and 2018.
The Class 387 Electrostar trains enabled GWR to provide a ten per cent increase in capacity into and out of London Paddington in the morning peak in January 2018 when compared to January 2019, and will add a further 20 per cent more seats for customers travelling from Newbury.
In the Summer of 2017 work which enabled improvements in line speeds to ease congestion on the railway into and out of Oxford was completed.
More than a hundred Network Rail engineers worked through each shift, putting in more than 32,750 people-hours in total during the nine-day closure to renew around just under two miles of track between Hinksey Lakes and Oxford Station.
This work forms part of the £200 million Oxford Corridor Project, which will deliver a series of enhancement schemes to increase capacity and improve reliability for passengers and freight operators.
Managing Director: Mark Hopwood
Engineering Director: Simon Green
Customer Service and Transformation Director: Richard Rowland
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