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The InterCity 125 and its high-speed replacement

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Four decades ago, something came along that many people feel helped save the railways.

A sleek, pacy, high-speed train, the InterCity 125. With its familiar sloping nose, the 125 symbolised a new era of clean lines and high technology on a network that had been underfunded and getting tatty for decades.

Now, we are getting the first glimpses of the train the government has picked to replace it.

The Hitachi 800 series won't be carrying passengers for at least another four years but it will finally come over from Japan for its first tests next year.

It's not without controversy. At around the £6bn mark, the Public Accounts Committee has recently questioned whether the taxpayer will ever get value for money, especially if passenger numbers drop off in future. In fact they've questioned whether the government should be buying trains at all, normally the industry does it.

But ministers say the new Hitachis will cut journey times for passengers and create hundreds of UK jobs.

They will appear on the Great Western line in December 2017 and the East Coast mainline in 2018.

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