MEET the new face of express train travel in Oxford, Didcot and the Cotswolds.
This is the nose of the IEP trains which will operate Great Western high-speed services between Oxfordshire, London, Bristol and South Wales from 2017.
Construction of the first of four prototype trains is now under way at Kasado in Japan, at a factory owned by Hitachi.
The company, which made the Class 395 Javelin trains used on high-speed commuter services running between Kent and London, is building a plant at Newton Aycliffe, in County Durham, to manufacture the rest of the fleet.
The first prototype is due to be completed next month and will arrive in the UK to start tests in the autumn.
High-speed trial running is expected to take place next year between Didcot and Reading, once overhead electric wires are installed there as part of the Great Western main line electrification programme.
A full-size mock-up of parts of the train was produced by DCA Design International, of Leamington Spa, to help develop the final design.
Staff from First Great Western have been involved in the project, with drivers asked to give their views on the layout of the cab. As well as the nose cone and driving cab, the mock-up includes standard and first class seating areas, toilets and the luggage and cycle racks which will be installed in the vestibules of coaches.
Two versions of the 125mph trains are on order for Great Western services, 21 nine-coach Class 800 electric trains and 36 five-coach Class 801 bi-mode, electro-diesel units. These will use electricity from overhead power cables where these are installed, then switch to underfloor diesel engines on non-electrified routes, such as the Cotswold Line between Oxford and Worcester.
After a recent visit to DCA’s workshops in Warwick, Rail Minister Stephen Hammond, above, said: “I was very impressed with the mock-up of the Class 800/801 train, and interested to hear about the lengths that the designers have gone to in ensuring that the views of passengers and other stakeholders have been included.
“The new trains will provide passengers with an improved travelling experience. I look forward to seeing them come into operation.”
Draft seating designs show the nine-coach trains will have about 630 seats. The five-coach sets will have about 320 seats and will be able to couple together to create a 640-seat train for busy peak services.
Another 12 five-coach electric trains, 10 five-coach bi-mode trains, and 13 nine-car bi-mode trains are also on order for the East Coast rail franchise, which links London with Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland.
The IEP fleet was ordered by the Government under a £5.8bn private finance initiative contract with Agility Trains, a consortium of Hitachi and British infrastructure management firm John Laing.
Our top stories:
8:30am Saturday 28th November 2015
ROAD safety campaigners say they are “astonished” that drivers with as many as 51 points on their licences are still allowed on the county’s roads.
9:00am Saturday 28th November 2015
YOUNGSTERS at an Oxfordshire primary school could finally be able to tuck into their hot dinners in a dining hall after the Prime Minister came to their aid.
8:00am Saturday 28th November 2015
BAYS in Frideswide Square will be “tweaked” after bus companies complained they were too small to safely accommodate vehicles.
6:30am Saturday 28th November 2015
IT HAS called Cowley Road home for the past 90 years, but on Monday family-run Oxford timber merchant W G Powell will close its doors for the last time.
6:00am Saturday 28th November 2015
ALL over Oxfordshire thousands of older people are fighting one of the cruellest but hardest-to-spot maladies of all: loneliness.
12:09pm Friday 27th November 2015
TWO men have been arrested in connection with the murder of Kerry Reeves, 26, in Abingdon earlier this month.
7:00am Friday 27th November 2015
TRAFFIC jams are now so bad in Oxford concrete is setting in the back of delivery lorries.
9:00am Friday 27th November 2015
FORGET Frozen and park the Playstation... traditional toys are back with a bang this Christmas.
8:30am Friday 27th November 2015
INTERNET users believe some people in Oxfordshire will still struggle to get superfast broadband despite £5.6m of new funding to roll it out to 4,600 homes and businesses.
8:00am Friday 27th November 2015
NEIGHBOURS have branded the £1,500 fine dished out to a boutique hotel owner over clay pigeon shooting “pathetic”.
6:30am Friday 27th November 2015
A CIVIC group has warned plans for up to 190 new homes at Wolvercote’s former paper mill could worsen traffic and air pollution in North Oxford.
6:00am Friday 27th November 2015
A STRANGER is just a friend you haven’t met yet – or in some cases, a friend you haven’t heard.
8:30am Thursday 26th November 2015
WORK to electrify the railway into Oxford has been set back four years, throwing the redevelopment of the city’s station into doubt.
5:52pm Thursday 26th November 2015
A MAN wanted by police on recall to prison was last seen in Banbury and has links to Oxford.