New Intercity Express Train breaks speed record

Wednesday 12th June 2019

Special train run marks 175th opening of the Line

To mark the 175th anniversary of the opening of the railway between Oxford and Didcot, GWR has set a new speed record between Oxford and London Paddington with their new Intercity Express Train.

GWR’s bullet style train, which has been in service since October 2017 and now operates on all of GWR’s long distance routes, formed a special service from Oxford to London Paddington non-stop, departing Oxford at 1127.

The train departed at 1127:04 and arrived into London Paddington at 1204:39; taking just 37 mins 35 seconds.

Before today’s record-breaking run, the quickest time was 40 mins 45 seconds, set on 19 August 1982 by a High Speed Train travelling at an average of 93.1 MPH, during a state visit.

GWR Deputy Managing Director Matthew Golton was accompanied on board by special guests and media. He said:

“Today’s non-stop journey shows just what these Intercity Express Trains are capable of.

“They have been in service for over a year now, every day providing thousands more seats between Oxford and London Paddington than the trains they have replaced.

“This December sees the biggest timetable change in 40 years on the GWR network 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, quicker journeys and around 1,000 extra seats a day along the North Cotswolds line.”

175 years ago the opening of the line to Oxford was marked by a special journey with invited guests from London Paddington. As part of GWR’s celebration of the anniversary they have marked the occasion with the record attempt.

Network Rail Head of Strategic Planning, Western David Tunley said:

“Investment in the rail infrastructure is allowing for significant improvements. Beating this record today shows what is possible, and we will continue to work with GWR to deliver timetable and journey time improvements in December.”

The Intercity Express Trains first began operating between London and Oxford in December 2017, and now all long distance services on the GWR network are operated by the trains; with 9 and 10 carriage IETs having 100 more seats on average than the High Speed Trains they have replaced.

A full complement of new Intercity Express Trains, and completion of electrification on the GWR mainline between London Paddington and Cardiff, will also allow GWR to provide more frequent services between the North Cotswolds, via Oxford, and London and to reduce journey times.

As well as the special train today, there will be a day of events on the line between Didcot and Oxford on Saturday 15 June, and you can find more details about all that is planned here.

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.