The South West to Receive New AT300 Fleet
First Great Western have received the go ahead for a deal to receive 29 high speed trains, a brand new AT300 fleet, from Hitachi for the new franchise. The proposal was put forward back in March.
A fleet of AT300 trains will replace the 40 year old fleet that run between London Paddington to Plymouth and Penzance.
The order is made up of 7 nine-car and 22 five-car bi-mode trains, allow First Great Western to be flexible. A 10-car formation can be created for through-services to and from the capital.
South West High-Speed Trains
Managing Director of First Great Western, Mark Hopwood, said: “We warmly welcome the announcement today that our recommendations to introduce a new fleet of trains to serve customers between Devon and Cornwall and London have been approved by the Department for Transport.
“We know how important the railway is to the economies and communities of the South West, and today’s agreement is fantastic news for the region and the rail industry as a whole. These trains will help us deliver faster, more frequent services into the South West, each providing a 14% increase in seats across the routes once they are all in service.
“Following this we have now formally finalised the agreement with Hitachi Rail Europe and Eversholt Rail, which will see the first trains in service in the summer of 2018.
The AT300 trains will be closely related to the Class 800 bi-mode trains designed for the Department for Transport’s Intercity Express Programme (IEP). However the AT300 trains ill utilise a higher engine power to cop with the gradients in Devon and Cornwall.
High-Power Hitachi AT300 Trains
Claire Perry MP, Rail Minister at the Department for Transport, said: These new trains will make a real difference to the millions of commuters, business travellers and tourists who use this route every year.
This industry initiative goes hand-in-hand with the work this Government is doing to reverse decades of underinvestment in transport infrastructure in regions like the South West. This will not only mean better journeys for customers, it will also help to secure long-term economic growth across the country. Like the new IEP trains serving cities in the North of England, this new fleet will help to open up the region for investment.