New Intercity Express trains built in Newton Aycliffe have completed their first journey in ahead of entering passenger service later this year.
Hitachi, the company building and maintaining the new fleet from its purpose-built factory on Aycliffe Business Park, successfully ran the test train along the Great Western main line to Wales.
The train ran through the Severn Tunnel, Newport, Cardiff, Bridgend and Port Talbot before finishing at Hitachi’s purpose built train maintenance centre in Swansea.
The new Intercity Express trains will bring a step change in passenger experience, offering passengers more seats, more space and better on-board technology.
From autumn 2017 the trains will connect Wales to London Paddington and major English cities such as Reading, Bristol, Bath and Swindon.
Each of the new trains will be bi-mode, allowing them to switch seamlessly between diesel and electric power.
This means even whilst modernisation of the Great Western route takes place, passengers will still be able to benefit from the new trains.
The new trains for Wales are being built at Hitachi’s train assembling facility in Aycliffe.
Using their famous Japanese bullet train technology, Hitachi’s intercity trains will offer the very best in build quality and reliability.
The trains will become a common sight in Wales as test activity increasing over the coming months.
Hitachi Rail managing director Karen Boswell said: “Our new intercity trains will bring rail travel in Wales firmly into the 21st century.
“These modern trains are being built in Britain using pioneering Japanese bullet train technology.
“For passengers in Wales this milestones marks another step closer in experiencing the benefits of investment in their railways.”
A Network Rail spokesman: “The introduction of the new Hitachi intercity trains is a vital part of our Railway Upgrade Plan to improve journeys for passengers.”