First Intercity Express runs from Cornwall

THE first passengers have travelled from Penzance to Exeter on a Hitachi Intercity Express. The GWR Class 802 bi mode train left Penzance with invited guests on board at 10.28, and arrived at about 13.40.

The first 802s should enter service within a few days, according to GWR insiders, although the launch of public services is expected to be 'soft', without any advance publicity.

Managing director Mark Hopwood confirmed that this is very likely. "I would say that their introduction is imminent," he told Railnews. "Quite likely to be one day next week."

The 802s will then enter service one by one, displacing the long-serving HSTs between London, Devon and Cornwall over the next few months.

Class 800 bi mode sets have already been running as far as Devon, where they have been used on some of the summer intercity services to Torbay, but they are not expected to be taken any further west.

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