Train problems mar Great Western’s Class 800 launch

THE launch of Great Western Railway’s Intercity Express Train (IET) into passenger service on October 16 made a rather inauspicious start.

Three generations of inter-city traction at London Paddington in the early morning of October 16 as Class 800 IET No. 800009 waits to form the 07.00 to Bristol Temple Meads. ALISDAIR ANDERSON

Four Class 800 Hitachi bi-mode trains were being used on two diagrams between London and Bristol, Cardiff and Swansea, representing the biggest
shake-up in motive power in the region since the introduction of the InterCity 125 in 1976.

Set Nos. 800005 and 800006 formed the 10-carriage 06.00 from Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington service. However, the empty stock was an hour late off depot at Stoke Gifford because of train management software issues, arriving at Temple Meads some 19min after it should have departed.

There was also an air conditioning fault, which let water into the First Class area, so several wet seats were cordoned off. The train left 25min late, with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling on board, and lost more time because of the changeover failure of power from diesel to electric, while on the move, after the set’s pantographs didn’t raise.

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