The first Intercity Express Programme passenger carrying trains are planned for October, however Great Western Railway is unable to confirm the exact day that the first members of its new fleet of Hitachi Rail Europe Intercity Express Programme Class 800s will carry passengers.
RAIL understands that the planned date is October 16, and that two rostered duties have been planned, with one train starting in Bristol and finishing in London, and the other starting in London and completing the day in Bristol.
GWR confirmed that duties had not been finalised, and that details already published were from original plans that have since changed.
Spokesman Dan Panes was unable to confirm the exact plans. However, times have appeared on RealTimeTrains suggesting that on October 16 an IEP will operate:
0445 Stoke Gifford-Bristol Temple Meads (empty coaching stock, ECS),
0600 Bristol Temple Meads-London Paddington,
0815 London Paddington-Bristol Parkway,
0954 Bristol Parkway-Stoke Gifford (ECS), 1115 return (ECS) ,
1132 Bristol Parkway-London Paddington,
1345 London Paddington-Swansea, 1724 return,
2051 London Paddington-North Pole (ECS).
A second duty planned for an IEP, starting the same day, will be:
0633 North Pole-London Paddington (ECS),
0700 London Paddington-Bristol Temple Meads, 0930 return,
1145 London Paddington-Swansea, 1524 return,
1900 London Paddington-Bristol Temple Meads, 2109 Bristol Temple Meads-Stoke Gifford (ECS).
GWR has 36 five-car Class 800/0s, 21 nine-car Class 800/3s, 22 five-car Class 802/0s and 14 nine-car Class 802/1s on order, with the ‘800/0s’ the first to enter traffic. Driver training has been carried out, with the first GWR drivers now passed to operate the trains.
As part of the training and testing, ‘800s’ are becoming increasingly common across the GWR network ahead of their introduction. So far 800001-006/008-021 have all been delivered, with 800003/004 the first in GWR green.