Latest News On IEP Train Developments

As we head towards the first passenger services of the new IEP trains in 2017, news items on the trains and the services  are likely to gather pace. Check back regularly for the latest news on this page of IEPtrain.co.uk.....


Latest News & Developments

Sept 2016 - The European Train Control System (ETCS) intended for deployment on IEP trains received approval from the UK Office of Rail and Road (ORR). The innovative control system - demonstrated successfully on the Cambrian line, which runs from Shrewsbury to both Pwllheli and Aberystwyth - makes Hitachi the first manufacturer to have such a digital signalling system deployed

Aug 2016 - Latest updates on introduction of IEPs on GWR routes is that the trains will start running to Bristol in August of 2017 and Cardiff/Swansea in 2018. The South Wales section of track is not due to be changed to electric until 2020 at the earliest, hence it will be diesel powered IEPs that are used to provide the service. These services will be run by 21 Class 801 units converted specially for the task from the original Class 800 order.

Aug 2016 - Latest updates on introduction of IEPs on GWR routes is that the trains will start running to Bristol in August of 2017 and Cardiff/Swansea in 2018. The South Wales section of track is not due to be changed to electric until 2020 at the earliest, hence it will be diesel powered IEPs that are used to provide the service. These services will be run by 21 Class 801 units converted specially for the task from the original Class 800 order.

Aug 2016 - Latest updates on introduction of IEPs on GWR routes is that the trains will start running to Bristol in August of 2017 and Cardiff/Swansea in 2018. The South Wales section of track is not due to be changed to electric until 2020 at the earliest, hence it will be diesel powered IEPs that are used to provide the service. These services will be run by 21 Class 801 units converted specially for the task from the original Class 800 order.

Aug 3rd 2016 - GWR order 7 more Class 801 bi-mode trains from Hitachi taking the total to 93. The additional 7 trains will be built at Hitachi's plant in Pistoia, Italy.

16-17th July 2016 - The first Class 800 Intercity Express (IEP) successfully completed its first test runs on the newly electrified section of the Great Western Main Line beyond Reading. On the journey from Reading to Didcot the train clocked speeds of 125 mph or 200km/h.

Here's a collection of some valuable IEP related info that can be found online. I've tried to limit these to the more obscure information that wouldn't already have been widely published on commonly seen news type sites.

The Cost Of Running The IEPs

Concerns Over Seating Design

Views From An IEP Project Manager

Built In The UK?

John Laing - First IEP From Japan To UK

No Buffet Facilities?

Railforums.co.uk Class800 Thread

FirstGreatWestern Passenger Forum - In Depth Discussion

For an in depth look at the full timeline of IEP associated events, visit Wikipedia's Intercity Express Programme page.

Older News

• 30th June 2016 - First GWR IEP officially unveiled and runs on first trip from Reading to London Paddington.

• 4th May 2016 - First GWR IEP Intercity Express named after the designer of the Intercity 125 - Sir Kenneth Grange.

• March 2016 - Virgin Trains Class 800/801 makes its first appearance in full Virgin East Coast colours at London's Kings Cross station. The fleet has earned the name of 'Azumas', with each train being known as an Azuma train. So named after the Japanese for East.

• 29th Oct 2015 - The first test vehicle 801001 clocked a speed of 137.5mph during trials at the Rail Innovation and Development Centre located at Old Dalby. This was achieved during what's known as an overspeed test designed to check what happens at excessive speeds.

• 27th Oct 2015 - The third IEP Class 800 of 12 intended has been delivered from Japan to Hitachi’s London West London depot from Japan.

• October 2015 - Latest reports indicate that if delays are encountered in the electrification of the GWR London to Swansea tracks, there could be a huge knock on financial impact. The contract between Hitachi and the UK Department of Transport cites that the trains must be paid for whether the tracks are ready or not, potentially leaving UK taxpayers facing a hefty £400k a day bill

• 27th Oct 2015 - The third IEP Class 800 of the 12 intended to be built outside the UK has been delivered from Japan to Hitachi’s London West London depot from Japan.

• Sept 2015 - First use of heavy lift traversers by Sheffield based UK firm Mechan at the Newton Ayliffe manufacturing plant. Traversers are used to move carriages along the production line.

• Mid September 2015 - The next new train (after the IEP) to be seen on British tracks was announced in March 2015 as the Hitachi AT300 - a variant of the IEP Class 800's. It'll be seen in the summer of 2018 on First Great Western services into regions of southwest England where its enhanced power diesel engine will tackle the steep hills of Cornwall and Devon. First Great Western will take delivery of a total of 29 trains, made up of 22 five car and 7 nine car vehicles. The operator has an option top take 30 more trains in future. First deliveries are planned for the summer months of 2018.

• 3rd September 2015 - The £82 million Newton Ayliffe manufacturing plant - where 112 of the trains will be built - sees its official opening. Production due to start in 2016.The plant opens with attendance from both the UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne.

• 24th August 2015 - The final four cars to be supplied from Japan for the first Super Express arrived at Southampton Docks.

• 29th April 2015 -The first Class 800 in the UK moved to the Old Dalby test rail track to undergo initial tests in advance of main line testing. Additional tests to be carried out on a protected section of the East Coast main Line.

• 12th March 2015 - First IEP train arrives at Southampton docks via ship from Japan - the unit was built at Hitachi’s Kasado factory.

• 22nd January 2015 - First IEP starts out on its delivery journey from Japan to the UK.

• 13th November 2014 - The first Hitachi Super Express is demonstrated at the Hitachi factory in Kasado, Japan.

• 18th July 2013 - Further £1.2 billion option taken up for an additional 30 Class 800 trains to run opn the East Coast main line.

• July 2012 - The Intercity Express Programme kicks off in earnest with the UK department of Transport awarding a near £5 billion contract to the Agility Trains consortium formed in partnership by Hitachi and John Laing. The first order consisted on 596 carriages to run on the widely-used Great Western rail route.

• November 2010 - Final confirmation of the orders delayed until results of investigations into track electrification are completed.

• 12th February 2009 - UK Department for Transport announces that the Agility Trains consortium is the preferred bidder for the contract to supply the new Super Express trains.

• November 2007 - Initial specification requirements released. Tender issued to three train manufacturers - Alstom-Barclays Rail Group, Express Rail Alliance, and Hitachi Europe.

• 2005 - Programme launched to find a replacement for Britain's ageing but highly popular Intercity125 fleet