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More Class 387s as GWR steps up electrics to Didcot

A GWR Class 387/1 arrives at Maidenhead on May 22. JACK BOSKETT.

Great Western Railway’s fleet of four-car Class 387 electric trains will increase to 88 vehicles (22 trains) in early July, as the train operator implements the latest phase of its suburban improvements by boosting Paddington-Maidenhead services.

Electric services to Maidenhead started in May with a fleet of 56 EMU vehicles (14 trains). This is set to increase to 180 (45 trains) from December, in preparation for January 3’s introduction of electric trains through Reading to Didcot.

Over the same period, GWR will reduce its fleet of Turbo diesel units from 142 vehicles last May to 97 in December, while its total fleet available for Thames Valley services rises from 198 vehicles to 277.

  • For a more in-depth version of this story, read RAIL 829, published on June 21. 

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  • Noam Bleicher - 16/06/2017 12:08

    At last FGW have enough trains to run a credible service, but are countering this fortunate position by sending diesels away. THey are STILL operating rubbishy and wholly inappropriate local 165s on the fast Oxford service, and in some cases STILL running single sets which aren't long enough to absorb the hordes at Slough. Surely they should be running at least one 166 on all fast trains, in multiple with a 165 to absorb short-run crowds.

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    • BigTone - 16/06/2017 18:57

      I thought the Turbo diesels were supposed to be heading South West, not parked up.

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      • FrankH - 06/07/2017 21:51

        3 166 sets are on the Bristol -Severn Beach line as of 3rdJuly.

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    • AndrewG1989 - 17/06/2017 13:17

      GWR* you meant.

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  • AndrewG1989 - 16/06/2017 20:03

    What about the extension of Class 387's that will possibly reach as far as Oxford and Newbury with the electrification still continuing on the GWML and electrification on other lines. Despite the branch lines including Marlow, Henley-on-Thames and Windsor & Eton Central branch lines that may not be electrified and GWR to use the Class 165's and Class 166's on those branch lines despite being cascaded to be used in Devon and Cornwall and Wessex region.

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  • Maureen Jackson - 16/06/2017 22:41

    They need to improve their 1st class refreshments. A hot drink and a biscuit just isn't good enough. Virgin trains offer excellent food

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  • AndrewG1989 - 17/06/2017 13:16

    Will the Class 387's go as far as Didcot Parkway or will they go to Oxford and possibly Newbury if the electrification is extended to Oxford and Newbury to allow the Class 387's to operate from London Paddington to Reading and to Didcot Parkway, Newbury and Oxford. With the possibility of the electrification on some parts of the North Downs Line that isn't electrified will soon be electrified with 750v 3rd Rail and to replace the Class 165's and Class 166's on the Reading-Gatwick Airport via Redhill route to be cascaded to other lines.

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  • Noam Bleicher - 19/06/2017 13:46

    Firstly, no amount of rebranding will change the fact it's FGW running the show. Thousands of litres of green paint don't detract from lack of wifi, tables, carpets etc.

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  • Noam Bleicher - 19/06/2017 13:49

    Secondly yes Andrew the 387s will be an improvement but wires to Oxford are around five years away.

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  • Noam Bleicher - 19/06/2017 13:52

    Lastly Maureen, you are spot on. THe Standard Class offer is poor too. Virgin have a fully staffed shop on all services. While you clearly can't offer a shop on DMU services, the catering offer on fast Oxfords is very hit-and-miss. Sometimes there is a trolley, sometimes there is not. In the face of this uncertainty, customers natually buy before they board. It's a classic case of an operator running down a service, then using falling revenue as an excuse to shut it down altogether.

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  • Peter B - 26/06/2017 13:15

    This is really good and a step in the right direction. I contacted GWR as I live by the South Downs Line aka Reading to Gatwick. They told me that as soon as diesel trains are freed up by the new Electrostars, they will be moved to the South Downs line to provide a more frequent service. A real sham electrification isn't considered though.

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