Hitachi has started testing its Class 802 trains, which will form a part of Great Western Railway's South West Intercity fleet.

The first of GWR’s Intercity Express trains carried out test runs between Bruton and Cogload in Somerset, and an additional two locomotives are scheduled to arrive in South West England for the compressive test programme in the near future.

The trains are scheduled to operate along the Devon and Cornwall route upon delivery.

Eversholt Rail has provided financing for the new Class 802 Intercity Express Trains, which are also planned to connect London Paddington to Exeter, Plymouth, Penzance and various other towns and cities from next year.

Hitachi Rail Europe projects director Berry Sas said: “This is an exciting milestone for our team as we ensure the trains are delivered on time and in top condition.

“Passengers and enthusiasts will be able to catch glimpses of the new trains as they begin regular test runs in the region.”

GWR’s new Intercity fleet comprises 36 trainsets equipped with bi-mode technology, which will enabling them to operate using both diesel and electric power.

"This is an exciting milestone for our team as we ensure the trains are delivered on time and in top condition."

The new trains are also expected to allow for shorter journey times, while providing passengers with more seats and onboard facilities.

GWR managing director Mark Hopwood said: “We know how important the railway is to the economies and communities of the South West, and the start of testing today 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, each providing up to a fifth more seats per train.”

The new trainsets have been equipped with Hitachi’s Japanese bullet train technology and are designed to operate in the region’s variable weather conditions, including along the Dawlish coast.

Image: Class 802 at Stoke Gifford (Bristol) depot. Photo: courtesy of Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd.