Great Western Railway’s 12.10 arrival at Paignton from London Paddington on Saturday [28 July] marked the first Intercity Express Train to travel to the seaside town.
The 9-carriage long Class 800 train, 800309, is the first Intercity Express Train to travel from London beyond Exeter in passenger service, marking another milestone in the roll out of the new fleet.
GWR Transformation Director Richard Rowland said:
“This Intercity Express Train running to Paignton is a key milestone in the delivery of the new fleet across our network.
“From later this summer, our customers in Devon and Cornwall will see more of these new trains when we introduce our Class 802 versions, which were specifically built to deal with the steep gradients on route to Penzance.”
The new trains boast up to 24% more seats per a train than the High Speed Trains that they are replacing; with more legroom, an at-seat food and drink service and improved air conditioning.
Devon and Cornwall will further benefit from the Intercity Express Trains when the region-specific Class 802 variations begin to be introduced later this summer.
MP for Torbay Kevin Foster, said:
“The arrival of GWR’s new Intercity Express Trains into our bay is a great moment not just for the passengers who will use them, but our region as a whole as these trains speed to the south west for the first time. These sleek new trains will replace the current fleet built in the 1970’s, improving journey times, comfort and reliability.”
“One hundred and seventy years after Brunel built the GWR his legacy lives on as these iconic trains use his iconic coastal railway.”
Dawlish councillor Rosalind Prowse said:
“This is welcome news. I am aware of the importance of railway and without it the economy of the South West would suffer. With the large amount of development in Devon and Cornwall it is necessary to have an updated service carrying us forward into the 21st century. We are here today because of I.K. Brunel and it is a pleasure to think we continue with his vision.”
Chief Executive of the South West Business Council Dr Robin Daniels said:
“This first Intercity Express, travelling from Paddington all the way to Paington, is testament to GWR’s support for the economy and the travelling public of the UK. Fast and efficient travel is key to building our economy and this important development is yet another indication that the South West is very much open for business.”
The train operated to Devon for the first time as part of normal rotation of the fleet; and regular IET services will start later this Summer.