GWR test trains head to the UK

GWR New Trains Image copyright GWR
Image caption The first five-car test train left Japan for the UK on Wednesday

Test trains for the new fleet of Intercity Express Trains on the Great Western Railway (GWR) in the South West have left Japan, heading for the UK.

The new train is for use on the line linking Paddington to Exeter and Cornwall via Reading and Newbury.

It is part of what GWR describes as the "biggest fleet upgrade in a generation", aimed at reducing journey times and increasing capacity.

The Class 802 fleet is due to enter passenger service next summer.

Image copyright GWR
Image caption The test train being loaded at Kobe port, Japan

This new train is the same as the Class 800 model currently being built for other parts of the network, but has a higher powered engine designed specifically for use on the Berks and Hants line to overcome "more challenging geography" in Devon and Cornwall.

These trains will be built in Pistoia, Italy, due to lack of extra capacity in the Newton Aycliffe-based factory, which is building the rest of the new Class 800 fleet.

The Class 800 fleet are being tested in the UK and due to enter service later this year.

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