Latest Rail News


First Electrostars enter service on Great Western Railway

The first Class 387 Electrostars entered into general service on the Great Western Railway (GWR) line today.

The first two trains will operate eight services a day between Hayes & Harlington and London Paddington, in eight-car formations.

The trains will eventually be introduced across the busy Thames Valley route, replacing the current Turbos, which will redeployed on other GWR routes.

Mark Hopwood, managing director of GWR, said: “The Thames Valley is one of the most popular rail corridors in the UK.

“We have promised the current fleet would be upgraded to provide much needed additional capacity and faster journey times, and I am delighted to say the first of these new electric trains will come into service in just a matter of days.”

The trains are leased from rolling stock company Porterbrook, which supplies Electrostars to Thameslink, Gatwick Express and c2c as well as GWR.

In June, Porterbrook announced that it was purchasing 92 more Electrostar vehicles for GWR, bringing the company’s total fleet to 180.

The trains will feature at-seat power sockets, air conditioning, extra luggage space and free WiFi.

Paul Maynard, the new minister for rail, said: “We are making the biggest investment in the railways since the Victorian era to modernise the network and deliver better journeys.

“The introduction of Great Western Railway’s first new Class 387 trains built by Bombardier in Derby is a great example of our investment. It will offer more seats, greater comfort and better reliability for passengers.”

(Image c. Great Western Railway)

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.


Andrew Gwilt   05/09/2016 at 16:17

Most of the GWR Class 387's will be operated on London Paddington-Reading, Maidenhead, Slough & Didcot possibly as far as Oxford and Newbury and possibly Swindon with some of the Class 387's to be used on Reading-Guildford-Redhill/Gatwick Airport North Downs line service as the North Downs line is to be electrified with DC 750v 3rd Rail with some sections already electrified.

Jon   05/09/2016 at 16:49

Andrew. The North Downs line isn't slated for electrification, but in any case it definitely won't be third rail. I'm not sure if the GWR Class 387s will be fitted with shoes.

Sonning Cutting   05/09/2016 at 17:37

Jon, I know that AG is a bit of a p..t with most of his comments , but if you look at Bombardier's photos you will see the GWR 387's are fitted with 3rd rail shoes.

David Faircloth   05/09/2016 at 19:53

The GWR 387s are dual-voltage sets; there is at least one YouTube clip of them on test on the 3rd rail (of sets 387132 and 387133 at Brighton on 27th July)

The Miller   05/09/2016 at 19:56

The first couple of GWR 387s were fitted with shoes to prove them but, from press articles, they will not be fitted to the fleet. It was said that the fitment was to prove the system in case of them being moved to a third rail TOC in the future.

Jon   06/09/2016 at 08:00

Yeah that's what I thought, don't forget that GWR has another 37 units on order after the initial eight, as well as the six for c2c. If needed, it should be relatively straightforward to restore the shoes.

Richard W   06/09/2016 at 09:12

The only way I can see the electrification holes in the Reading - Gatwick line being filled in is by using scrap kit from elsewhere (e.g. re-electrification of the Basingstoke - Southampton line) just to get rid of the last DMUs in the area. Probably won't happen as that kit is probably life expired, certainly from an electronics view point the kit would be extremely old hat. Shall miss the HSTs in my area when they complete the GWML - but there again they don't sound right since they replaced the engines with the MTU's!

Andrew Gwilt   06/09/2016 at 19:56

@Sonning Cutting-"I know that AG is a bit of a p..t with most of his comments". Excuse me Sonning. Its my opinion. Keep your opinions to yourself.

Andrew Gwilt   06/09/2016 at 20:00

@Jon-Well yes the GWR Class 387's are dual voltage but the North Downs Line will still be electrified no matter what the outcome will be. Unless North Downs Line is to be electrified with AC 25kv Overhead which would be impossible across Southern England because most railway lines in Southern England are DC 750v 3rd rail (except for the Uckfield line and Marshlink line which isnt electrified).

Jon   07/09/2016 at 18:10

It's not impossible Andrew, the whole point of a dual-voltage train is that it can switch between AC and DC electrification. Anyway electrification of the North Downs Line is not currently planned.

Chris@Chesterfield   07/09/2016 at 20:16

MAXIMISING PUBLIC TRANSPORT UPTAKE! Can we be told the name of the designer of the livery of the new GW class 387s? Lets be fair though, they do have the 'go-faster' white stripe from the 1960s DMU refurb.

Andrew Gwilt   11/09/2016 at 22:56

So the electrification of the North Downs Line between Reading and Redhill hasn't been planned just yet. I think it will get the go ahead to be electrified despite parts of the North Downs Line is already electrified.

Roger (Insider)   13/09/2016 at 10:10

ALL Class 387 (387/1 to GTR, 387/2 to Gatwick Express, 387/1a to GWR & the 6 x 387/3 just completed for C2C) are ordered by Porterbrook & delivered as Dual Voltage. I suppose the pan on 387/2 gives the opportunity for Gatwick - Kensington - Milton Keynes further down the line.

Andrew Gwilt   16/09/2016 at 04:44

The pantograph on the Gatwick Express Class 387/2's may not be needed as its to be DC operated only but there could be a new Gatwick Airport-Milton Keynes Central & Watford Junction service but I think Southern will still provide their East Croydon-Milton Keynes Central service.

Andrew T Gardner   26/09/2016 at 15:00

when will work start between southampton...basingstoke...reading any i dears

Add your comment



rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Delays to Crossrail could ‘push HS2 off track’

16/10/2018Delays to Crossrail could ‘push HS2 off track’

Delays and cost overruns on the Crossrail project could have a significant impact on HS2, according to the Construction Products Association (CPA... more >
HS2 Phase 2 boss defends 12-month bill delay: ‘We actually proposed this ourselves’

16/10/2018HS2 Phase 2 boss defends 12-month bill delay: ‘We actually proposed this ourselves’

The outgoing boss of HS2 Phase 2b has defended the one-year setback in introducing legislation to Parliament, arguing that the move was “es... more >
Britain’s worst railway stations for delays and cancellations revealed

16/10/2018Britain’s worst railway stations for delays and cancellations revealed

The worst railway stations in the UK for late trains and cancellations have been revealed, with ten of the busiest seeing over half of all servic... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News


Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

29/08/2018Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

RTM’s Jack Donnelly sat down with one of the leading minds behind Network Rail’s most advanced and innovative rail maintenance techno... more >
Transforming travel in the north west

06/02/2018Transforming travel in the north west

RTM’s Josh Mines talks to Robin Davis, head of new trains at TransPennine Express (TPE), about the huge rolling stock change journey the co... more >
Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

23/01/2018Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

RTM’s Josh Mines catches up with Mark Somers, project director for Thameslink, on how the final stages of the programme are progressing and... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

18/09/2018The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

RTM's Jack Donnelly assesses what the Transport Committee's latest report on the VTEC franchise means for the industry as a whole “Eve... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

18/09/2018Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) will be transformational for the north – it will change the way people live, work, and play. It will rebalan... more >
Innovation through people and technology

18/09/2018Innovation through people and technology

Ian Prosser, HM chief inspector of railways and director of railway safety at the ORR, picks out the key industry challenges to focus on based on... more >
Why we all must mind the gap

18/09/2018Why we all must mind the gap

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR), explains how we can all ensure the UK’s next generation... more >
3D printing: from virtual to real

11/09/20183D printing: from virtual to real

Like so many other technological advancements, 3D printing has moved from being the stuff of science fiction, through niche industrial applicatio... more >