Hitachi Rail Europe has started production of the first of 36 class 802 InterCity Express bullet trains for the UK's Great Western Railway (GWR) at the Pistoia plant in Italy.

A total of 93 trains are all due to enter passenger service by the end of 2019, and are currently being built at the company's plants in the UK and Italy using Japanese bullet train technology.

The new 36 trains will connect London to Devon and Cornwall.

Hitachi’s manufacturing facility in the UK has already built its first train for GWR, which is expected to enter passenger service later this year.

GWR managing director Mark Hopwood said: “Today marks another significant step towards delivering new trains, more seats, more frequent services and quicker journeys; and a step change in passenger experience on the Great Western.

“The first UK built Intercity Express Train rolled-off the UK production plant last December for introduction in passenger service later this year, and it is great to see work on the fleet for Devon and Cornwall progress.”

"New trains mean more seats, more frequent services and quicker journeys."

A second batch of trains will start running on the same route next year.

In addition, the first InterCity Express trains are soon to begin running on the Great Western main line, linking London to UK cities such as Reading, Bath, Bristol and Cardiff.

The new fleet provides new on-board technology, including real-time journey updates and seat reservation screens to passengers and is with bi-mode technology, which allows trains to use diesel and electric power.

The fleet has the capability to withstand the region’s weather conditions, including routes along the Dawlish coast.

Image: Hitachi Rail’s InterCity Express train. Photo: © Hitachi Rail Italy SpA.