Hitachi Italy starts Class 802 bi-mode production for GWR
Hitachi Rail Italy has started the production work on the Class 802 bi-mode fleet for Great Western Railway (GWR), with the new trains expected to be phased into passenger service from summer 2018.
The new fleet, which is being manufactured at Hitachi’s Pistoia site, includes 14 nine-car and 22 five-car AT300 trains for GWR, after operator’s decision in 2015 to extend its fleet size, allowing for new trains to reach Devon and Cornwall.
Passengers travelling towards Devon and Cornwall are one step closer to experiencing the new trains as Hitachi Rail’s Italian factory received the first bodyshells from Japan to start work.
Mark Hopwood, managing director at GWR, said: “This marks another significant step towards delivering new trains, more seats, more frequent services and quicker journeys; and a step change in passenger experience on the Great Western.
“The first UK built Intercity Express Train rolled off the UK production plant last December for introduction in passenger service later this year, and it is great to see work on the fleet for Devon and Cornwall progress.”
Three test trains – two five-car and one nine-car – from the fleet extension will arrive into Southampton from summer 2017 to begin testing specific stretches of coastal track. Hitachi’s newly built depot at Stoke Gifford, Bristol, will maintain the trains during the test programme. The first newly built train to arrive from Italy will be in winter this year.
Karen Boswell, managing director of Hitachi Rail Europe, marked the introduction of bullet trains on to the UK’s most iconic stretches of railway as “historic”.
She said: “These new trains will transform passenger experiences, offering a truly 21st century experience with more seats and on-board technology. Additional luggage space and a smoother ride will increase comfort for longer journeys connecting distant parts of the country.
“To make sure passengers get the new trains as soon as possible Hitachi is using its factories in Italy and the North East of England, where our skills and expertise are entirely complementary.”
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