GWR withdraws new IE trains for upgrade

NEW Intercity Express trains which entered service on GWR at the start of this week have been withdrawn for upgrades to software and related modifications.

The first service from Bristol Temple Meads, with the transport secretary among its passengers, was due to depart at 06.00 on Monday morning. It left late because of a technical problem and then encountered more difficulties during the journey to London.

An air conditioning fault caused water to drip on to the seats in one coach, while another fault caused the air valve which moves the pantograph to fail when the driver attempted to change the traction mode from diesel to electricity at Maidenhead. The train came to a stand at Twyford and was delayed by a further 10 minutes while on-board systems were rebooted. It then continued to Paddington on diesel power, arriving 41 minutes behind time.

The train had also been due to work the 08.15 to Cardiff Central, but this service had to be cancelled because the faulty sets were taken instead to Old Oak Common depot.

Meanwhile a second service, also formed of two 5-car Class 800 sets, had left Paddington on time at 07.00 and ran to Bristol without any technical delays. Later in the day an Intercity Express carried passengers to Swansea for the first time.

Hitachi has apologised for the launch day problems, saying ‘we must do better’.

A GWR spokesman said: “We hope to have them back in passenger service as soon as possible.”

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