Rail News

Hitachi and Great Western Railway Unveil First Italian-Built Trains

New Intercity Express Trains manufactured in Italy for Great Western Railway’s (GWR) Devon and Cornwall route are to begin a rare journey across Europe.

The trains will leave Hitachi’s factory in Pistoia, Italy, before travelling by rail through Austria, Germany, and France, arriving days later in the UK via the Channel Tunnel.

Two trains, the first with fully finished interiors, will join three prototype trains already being tested in the South West of England

GWR Intercity Express Trains
New Intercity Express Trains manufactured in Italy for GWR © Hitachi

Intercity Express Trains Transforming GWR

Last year, the first wave of Intercity Express Trains began running on the historic Great Western main line, connecting London to key UK cities including Reading, Swindon, Bath, Bristol and Cardiff. Production of these trains is continuing in the UK at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

From summer 2018 a second wave of 36 modern Intercity Express Trains will begin running from London Paddington, via Reading, Wiltshire, Somerset, along coastal routes in Devon and Cornwall and as far south as Penzance. For the manufacturing of these trains, in addition to the production plant in the UK (which is at full capacity), Hitachi Rail is also using its facility in Pistoia, Italy, making use of a greater production capacity.

Modern Trains for Devon and Cornwall

The Intercity Express Train harnesses Hitachi Rail’s pioneering Japanese bullet train technology, known for its quality and reliability. It has also been designed to withstand the region’s variable weather conditions, including routes along the Dawlish coast.

Passengers can expect more seats, better on-board facilities and shorter journey times, saving as much as 14 minutes between London Paddington and Penzance.

Passengers will also benefit from new on-board technology, including real-time journey updates and seat reservation screens.

The entire fleet is fitted with hybrid technology, allowing trains to use both diesel and electric power, meaning passengers can enjoy the benefits of new trains as soon as possible.

Parts Supplied From Businesses in South West of England

The new trains are seen as a boost for regional economies along the route, providing greater connectivity for businesses and tourist destinations.

GWR’s order of the new fleet has also had a direct impact on firms in the region. Businesses located along the Great Western route were chosen by Hitachi to supply parts for the new Intercity Express trains:

  • Floors from Cornwall (Tiflex)
  • Pantographs from Somerset (Brecknell Willis)
  • Braking systems from Wiltshire (Knorr-Bremse)

Mark Hopwood, Managing Director at Great Western Railways, said:

“We know how important the railway is to the economies and communities of the South West, and today marks another significant milestone in delivering the improvements we know our passengers wish to see.

“These trains have been privately financed and will help us deliver faster, more frequent services into the South West with no cost to the taxpayer.”

Original article © Hitachi Rail EU.

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