Advertisements

New high-speed Japanese train will shave 20 minutes off journey times between South Wales and London

A brand new Japanese train that will speed up travel from West Wales to Cardiff and London has made a late-night appearance in Carmarthen.

The Intercity Express Class 800 is an electric/diesel hybrid that was made by Japanese multinational company Hitachi and constructed in Newton Aycliffe in Durham.

Eagle-eyed train enthusiasts will have spotted the train as it arrived at Carmarthen railway station shortly before 10pm on Thursday night.

It will be used by Great Western Railway on its routes between South Wales and London, and, with speeds of up to 140mph, is expected to shave 20 minutes off journey time for people travelling from Swansea to Paddington.

The new trains, designed to replace the existing InterCity 125 trains as part of the UK Government’s Intercity Express Programme, will feature more seats and tables, greater legroom, bigger toilets, improved air conditioning and better Wi-Fi.

The new Hitachi trains soon to serve the Swansea to London Paddington route
The new Hitachi trains that will soon serve the Carmarthen to London Paddington route

“The new trains will be in service by the autumn,” a Great Western Railway spokesman confirmed.

“Parts have been shipped from Japan and construction of the new trains has taken place in a factory in Newton Aycliffe.

“As well as other benefits, the new trains will be 25 per cent bigger and therefore will be able to cater for 25 per cent more passengers.

“Once electrification is complete, it will be quicker for passengers travelling from South Wales to London.”

The new Hitachi trains soon to serve the Swansea to London Paddington route
The new trains are due to be in service from the autumn

Being both electric and diesel powered, the trains will eventually run using electricity from overhead lines in electrified sections of the rail network, and then switch to diesel in sections that are not part of the electrification programme.

Following the announcement that electrification will not be rolled out further east than Cardiff, the hybrid trains will rely on their diesel engines as they travel between Carmarthen and the capital.

However, electrification is not expected to reach Cardiff for around 18 months or so, meaning more journey time will be spent in diesel mode.

While not as beneficial for the environment as they would be if the whole line from Paddington to Swansea was fully electrified, the new trains will still be more environmentally friendly than the current HST models.

The new trains will be kitted with the latest Rolls-Royce MTU engine, and their ‘wear per mile’ will be 56 per cent less than the current HSTs.

Initially coming into service this October, there will eventually be 59 new trains on the Great Western Mainline from South Wales to London.

The whole Intercity Express Programme is expected to cost £5.7 billion.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply