New GWR Electrostar fleet helps drive huge increase in train seats

Friday 22nd December 2017

Great Western Railway (GWR) will provide almost 8,000 extra trains seats across its network at the busiest times of the morning from this January.

New, and more modern trains mean that the company will be able to deliver 10% more train seats at the busiest time of the morning into and out of London Paddington, and a 20% increase through Bristol Temple Meads, compared to January 2017.

The new services mark a major milestone in the modernisation of the Great Western Mainline, and follows Network Rail’s successful work to electrify rail lines between Paddington and Didcot – a key part of its Railway Upgrade Plan.

In London and the Thames Valley, the GWR fleet of 45 Electrostar trains will replace the majority of the 25-year-old fleet currently operating in the region, providing vital additional capacity. The trains will predominantly run in 8 and 12-carriage formations, providing up to 30% more seats on key journeys.

Alongside the introduction of Intercity Express Trains, the improvements will mean over 4,800 more seats into and out of London Paddington in the morning peak (between 0700 and 0959), a 10% increase in capacity when compared to January 2017.

Services covering Bristol, Gloucester, Cardiff and Taunton will also see more modern trains introduced, providing up to double the number seats per train. This means GWR will have introduced 3,000 more seats for commuters in the morning peak alone through Bristol Temple Meads since January 2017. As well as more seats, these trains have improved air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and accessible toilets.

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:

“The 2 January marks a massive step towards delivering the capacity improvements we have promised, and the most significant series of improvements for rail passengers in a generation.

“Electric trains will run under the wires between Didcot and London for the first time, delivering real improvements for our passengers in London and the Thames Valley and enabling us to make further improvements throughout our network, supporting the communities we serve.

“Let me also take this opportunity to thank our passengers in advance for their patience during the Christmas period, as Network Rail continue Crossrail works, and its programme to modernise the Great Western.”

New Intercity Express Trains, GWR’s long-distance fleet, will also reach Great Malvern, Worcester and Oxford for the first time, and even more journeys will be operated by the new trains on routes between London and South Wales, Bristol, and Taunton.

Network Rail Western Route Managing Director Mark Langman said:

“This is another major step forward in the biggest ever transformation on the Great Western Mainline as we deliver more trains, more seats and better journeys for communities across the route.

“This will boost local communities and provide a better service for passengers travelling in Didcot, Reading, across the Thames Valley and west London.

“It has been a real team effort as Network Rail and GWR staff worked tirelessly to get to this stage. It is an example of track and train working together for the benefit of the passenger and really does herald an exciting time on the railway.”

Notes to editors

Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.

We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR is a FirstGroup company.

  • Between London Paddington and the North Cotswolds, new Intercity Express Trains have begun operation as five carriage trains
  • 10 carriage Intercity Express Trains operating between London Paddington and South Wales, Bristol and Taunton have up to 24% more seats the eight carriage High Speed Trains they replace
  • A 12 carriage Electrostar train offers 672 standard seats (no First Class seating), 30% more than a six carriage turbo train
  • With the provision of all electric services to Didcot customers travelling towards Oxford will need to change at Didcot Parkway for a shuttle service to Oxford/Banbury. Customers travelling towards Reading will need to change at Didcot Parkway for services towards London Paddington.
Figures based on increase in seats between January 2017 timetable and 2 January 2018