Latest News On UK IEP Intercity Express 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

October 16th 2017 – First Scheduled GWR IEP Enters Stage With A Subdued Start 

Today saw the first fare paying passenger run of a new Intercity Express on western routes, with a GWR class 800 running from Bristol to London.

GWR (and the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling some important are unlikely to be happy given the outcome…and perhaps more importantly the bad press it’s generated. 

Reports of some overcrowding, coupled with issues with an air conditioning unit dripping water inside the train rather than outside which resulted in some seats getting cordoned off, plus an arrival in London 41 minutes later than it was due (caused partly by a technical failure at Taplow was due to switch from diesel to electric overhead wires, although the departure was 25 minutes late anyway) have given some ammo to the doubters who’ve questioned the cost of the new trains and the electrification exercise that’s accompanied them.

Definitely not the start that everyone wanted though, with the average speed for the 120 mile trip working out at around 50mph.

It’s early days though…one delay and a minor technical problem don’t (necessarily) ruin the promise that the new IEPs still have to offer.

 

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 

Video News

In the build up to service introductions in 2017 there has been plenty of news on IEP developments, particularly as reported in national and regional UK news websites. You’ll find the best of those in video format at Youtube. For an in depth look at the full timeline of IEP associated events, visit Wikipedia’s Intercity Express Programme page.

Older News

Sept 8th 2017 – First IEP test run into Edinburgh.

August 23rd 2017  –   Various test runs completed into Wales and major Welsh destinations.

August 16th 2017  –    Scotland welcomed its first IEP train with a Virgin Azuma trial run from Doncaster to Dunbar. The 9 car train – 800101 – is one of the 65 strong fleet of IEP Class 800/801s which are currently being built by Hitachi Rail Europe.

August 9th 2017 – Testing of the Class 802 fleet into Western Counties of the UK began with a trial run of one of GWR’s Intercity Express vehicles into Somerset. The first test runs were carried out between Bruton and Cogload.

3rd July 2017  –  Great Western announce that 50 of their trains will be named after various famous West Country historical figures.

June to August 2017       Major platform works at Bristol Temple Meads take place to allow the new IEPs to safely load and unload passengers.

June 22nd                    Cornwall sees the arrival of its first new Intercity Express when the roughly 6 hour maiden journey from Paddington to Penzance is completed.

June 17th                   The first new Hitachi Intercity Express Train due to specifically operate on the Great Western routes to Devon and Cornwall route arrives in the UK by boat from Japan.

June 13th                 Her Majesty the Queen boards a Class 800 IEP for a ride from Slough to Paddington in commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the first rail journey made by a British monarch.

9th May             Nomad Digital announced as the Wi-Fi supplier for GWR Intercity Express routes. Nomad are highly regarded in the rail industry and provide services to most UK rail operators as well as some overseas.

April 28th             First Class 802 leaves Japan en route to England.

23rd April                 Virgin Trains showcase their Azuma IEP in an event designed to celebrate the past, present and future of rail travel. The event was arranged by a combination of teams from Virgin, the National Railway Museum, Network Rail, Welcome to Yorkshire and Hitachi. In a line up which was quite something to see, trains from the past – the Flying Scotsman, and Intercity 125, and an Intercity 22 – travelled together with Virgin’s Azuma on side by side tracks.

March 24th         Welsh routes get their first taste of the IEP with a test run of a Class 800 through the Severn Tunnel Swansea taking in Newport, Cardiff, Bridgend and Port Talbot.

23rd Dec 2016                   Rolls-Royce selected to supply 136 series 1600 MTU PowerPacks for 32 Class 802 IEPs alongside the existing contract for supply to Class 800/801s. 

Nov 3rd 2016       It’s not only Virgin that will run Hitachi’s Intercity Express trains on the East Coast routes. Announcements have been made that Hull Trains have awarded a contract worth £60 million to supply 5 dual mode electric/diesel IEPs with 5 carriages each to the big Japanese manufacturer. The trains will be built at the Newton Aycliffe factory and will be seen on Hull Trains electrified routes between London and Yorkshire, with diesel power used to take passengers on to Hull and Beverley.

4th Oct 2016 Devon rail tracks get their first taste of the new Intercity experience with the first test trip of an IEP past Bristol and into the South. Train 800101 ran from Stoke Gifford to Plymouth and back on a trial run.

22nd Sept 2016 Rolls-Royce announced a long-term deal to supply IEP Series 1600 MTU PowerPacks to Hitachi Rail Europe. The UK based manufacturer will take on responsibility for ongoing maintenance – including general maintenance, repair work, preventative maintenance, and scheduled overhauls – from 2017 right through to the end of the Hitachi contract in 2044.

16th Sept – Network Rail task of modernising the Great Western routes continues with the completion of electrification of sections between Bristol Parkway and Swindon. The work kept around 5,000 Network Rail engineers busy over four weeks of intensive effort, involving track changes and renewals plu Bristol Parkway station improvements including the addition of a fourth platform.

Sept 8th 2017 – First IEP test run into Edinburgh.

August 23rd 2017 – Various test runs completed into Wales and major Welsh destinations.

August 16th 2017 – Scotland welcomed its first IEP train with a Virgin Azuma trial run from Doncaster to Dunbar. The 9 car train – 800101 – is one of the 65 strong fleet of IEP Class 800/801s which are currently being built by Hitachi Rail Europe.

August 9th 2017 – Testing of the Class 802 fleet into Western Counties of the UK began with a trial run of one of GWR’s Intercity Express vehicles into Somerset. The first test runs were carried out between Bruton and Cogload.

3rd July 2017 – Great Western announce that 50 of their trains will be named after various famous West Country historical figures.

June to August 2017 – Major platform works at Bristol Temple Meads take place to allow the new IEPs to safely load and unload passengers.

June 22nd – Cornwall sees the arrival of its first new Intercity Express when the roughly 6 hour maiden journey from Paddington to Penzance is completed.

June 17th – The first new Hitachi Intercity Express Train due to specifically operate on the Great Western routes to Devon and Cornwall route arrives in the UK by boat from Japan.

June 13th – Her Majesty the Queen boards a Class 800 IEP for a ride from Slough to Paddington in commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the first rail journey made by a British monarch.

9th May – Nomad Digital announced as the Wi-Fi supplier for GWR Intercity Express routes. Nomad are highly regarded in the rail industry and provide services to most UK rail operators as well as some overseas.

April 28th – First Class 802 leaves Japan en route to England.

23rd April – Virgin Trains showcase their Azuma IEP in an event designed to celebrate the past, present and future of rail travel. The event was arranged by a combination of teams from Virgin, the National Railway Museum, Network Rail, Welcome to Yorkshire and Hitachi.

In a line up which was quite something to see, trains from the past – the Flying Scotsman, and Intercity 125, and an Intercity 22 – travelled together with Virgin’s Azuma on side by side tracks.

March 24th – Welsh routes get their first taste of the IEP with a test run of a Class 800 through the Severn Tunnel Swansea taking in Newport, Cardiff, Bridgend and Port Talbot.

23rd Dec 2016 – Rolls-Royce selected to supply 136 series 1600 MTU PowerPacks for 32 Class 802 IEPs alongside the existing contract for supply to Class 800/801s.

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.

• 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

 

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