Special GWR train run posts modern speed record

Wednesday 25th September 2019

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.

Last night’s 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.

Special Train GWR
Guests and GWR colleagues celebrating the post-speed restriction record at London Paddington last night

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.”

Special Train GWR
Left to right, Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, Mark Hopwood, Managing Director of GWR, David Eccles, of EDF Energy, and Tim Bowles, incumbent Mayor of the West of England

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.

Pictures: Michael Lloyd/Bristol Post

Notes to editors

The Rail Performance Society (RPS) records fastest times in two categories – pre-2008 and post-2008. This reflects the introduction of safer driving practices and speed restrictions from 2008.

According to the RPS, the quickest time recorded between Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington pre-2008 was 68 minutes 19 seconds, set on 7 May 1977 by a High Speed Train.

Until last night, no speed record had been measured between the two stations post-2008.

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.com. GWR is a FirstGroup company.