New Intercity Express Trains manufactured in Italy for GWR’s Devon and Cornwall route (via Reading and Wiltshire) are to begin a rare journey across Europe.
The trains will leave Hitachi’s factory in Pistoia in the next few weeks, 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.
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.
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.
Maurizio Manfellotto, Chief Executive Officer at Hitachi Rail Italy, said: "Manufacturing GWR’s trains in our plant in Pistoia is key to us. These trains, intended for UK, that leave the Italian factory are the emblem of the integration of the Hitachi Group Rail companies. A synergy of skills, experience and innovation in the UK, Japan and Italy, that allows us today to deliver to the customer a state-of-the-art product in terms of technology and comfort to the passenger. "