Council leader meets transport secretary at launch of faster trains

Plymouth City Council leader has seen for himself how travel times between the South West and London will be improved.

Councillor Bowyer was in the capital for the launch of the brand new interCity Express train, where he met the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughin.

The new train is the first of a fleet of new Hitachi built trains that were unveiled by Great Western Railway to celebrate 175 years to the day since the very first train ran on the line between Bristol and London.

The new Hitachi fleet is being introduced as part of the biggest investment on this railway since Brunel, including electrification of the Great Western Main Line.

Council leader with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Oliver Colvile MP

Council leader with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Oliver Colvile MP

Councillor Bowyer said: “We have been lobbying hard together across the peninsula for better rail services for some time so it is great to meet the minister today and see this fantastic first step towards improving rail connectivity between London and the South West.

“We know that a high quality rail service is vital to Plymouth’s future and businesses have been telling us they need faster journey times. This new fleet will help cut journey times to and from the capital when introduced in two years. We know that more investment in our rail network is needed and we will continue to press Government for these improvements.”

The new trains will be manufactured in Britain and will include more seats, greater legroom, free Wi-Fi, power sockets at each seat, LCD seat reservation indicators and increased space in overhead luggage racks. The trains start to be introduced into passenger service from next summer on the Great Western main line, and from 2018 on services between London and Devon and Cornwall.