Passengers on the Paddington to Cornwall route to benefit from new trains, providing more seats, more services and reduced journey times – inc new sleeper service
Great Western Railway’s first Intercity Express Train made its maiden voyage to Cornwall today (22 June), as part of a very special journey from London Paddington to Penzance.
Watch a video of the new Intercity Express train and updated Night Riviera service here.
“The new fleet forms part of a £400m package of rail investment that we are working with GWR and Network Rail to deliver, which will transform rail services on our mainline network and, in doing so, provide a key element of the Council’s proposals for a One Public Transport System in Cornwall.” announced Councillor Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for Transport.
From 2017 this new fleet of Intercity Express Trains will connect London Paddington to Bristol and South Wales and from 2018 they will connect London Paddington to Exeter, Plymouth, Penzance and many more communities.
GWR Commercial Development Director Matthew Golton said:
“We know how important the railway is to the economies and communities of the South West, and today’s event marks another milestone in delivering the improvements we know our passengers wish to see.
“These trains will help us deliver faster, more frequent services into the South West, providing up to a fifth more seats per train.”
The new rolling stock replaces the 40-year-old trains currently serving this key intercity route This will mean additional seats into and out of Cornwall and the West of England, and will help speed up typical journey times from London by 5 minutes (to Exeter), 6 minutes (Plymouth) and 14 minutes (Penzance).
The 93 train fleet is fitted with bi-mode technology, allowing trains to use both diesel and electric power, and passengers to enjoy the benefits of new trains as soon as possible. Prior to entering service next Summer, the train will now be made ready to begin testing on the network.
“Improving the signalling, upgrading stations and preparing the railway for the Intercity Express Trains marks a real milestone in the modernisation of the railway in the South West, as we continue to deliver our Railway Upgrade Plan.
“Passengers, communities and the local economy will feel real benefits with extra services, more seats, greater comfort and a more reliable railway in Devon and Cornwall.” Mark Langman, Route Managing Director of Network Rail, said.
The modernisation includes a £25million signalling upgrade as part of the Cornwall Capacity Enabling Scheme, which has been part funded by Cornwall Council. This scheme includes 21 additional signals added to the line and seven level crossing upgrades.
The extra signalling will allow for more trains to be on the track, and will be controlled locally from the existing signal boxes at Plymouth, Lostwithiel and Roskear.
A further £12m has been invested for de-vegetation in Devon and Cornwall and another £10m for gauge clearance as well as Totnes and Devonport platform extensions.
Passengers will also benefit from new on-board technology, including real-time journey updates and seat reservation screens.
The Intercity Express Train is designed to withstand the region’s variable weather conditions, including routes along the Dawlish coast.
There will also be a new and improved Night Riviera sleeper berth. The Night Riviera service is being modernised and will include a new seated carriage, a cocktail bar and refreshed berths with hotel style keyless door entry, USB charging ports and a host of other improvements. See a video of the new sleeper here.
From next Summer the new trains will begin running as far as Penzance along coastal routes in Devon and Cornwall.
The entire fleet of 93 trains (58 five-car, 35 nine-car) will be in passenger service by the end of 2019.