A new modern speed record has been set on a train from Bristol Temple Meads to London Paddington to celebrate the release of Great Western Railway’s new timetable, which comes into effect on 15 December.
GWR’s bullet-style Intercity Express Train, which has been in service since October 2017 and now operates on all of GWR’s long-distance routes, took just 72 minutes to reach London Paddington.
The special non-stop service marked the new December timetable being made public for the first time. The biggest timetable change on the network since 1976 will offer faster journey times and more frequent services to key locations.
The service left Bristol Temple Meads at 1849 and arrived into London Paddington at 2001 to establish a post-speed restriction record between the two stations.
GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood was accompanied on board last night’s special service by guests and local businesses. He said:
“This special run shows just what these Intercity Express Trains are capable of.
“It is less than 12 weeks until the timetable change on Sunday, December 15, and the timing of almost every single train we run will be different. The IETs will be critical to us delivering even more frequent services and quicker journeys.
“Customers will see the fastest journey times between Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington cut to 1 hour 19 minutes – 17 minutes faster than is possible today. And journey times into London, non-stop from Bristol Parkway, will be cut to just 1 hour 8 minutes.”
Network Rail Operations Manager, Western, Gary Abbott said:
“We’re now able to fully realise the significant benefits from our investment in the rail infrastructure. Setting this new speed record shows what is possible, and we will continue to work with GWR to deliver timetable and journey time improvements in December.”
The new December timetable is so significant, especially for those who travel regularly and are used to catching a particular service every day, that GWR has launched an awareness campaign to highlight the changes ahead, and make sure customers are prepared. It is encouraging customers to find out more at www.gwr.com.