The Cotswold Line saw the first-ever use of a nine-coach InterCity Express Train (IET) in passenger service on Wednesday, June 13, when 800304 worked the 14.21 from London Paddington to Worcester and 17.25 return service.
The nine-coach trains were due to start operating on Great Western Railway (GWR) services two days earlier, but approval for their use was not given until Tuesday, June 12.
Sister unit 800305 operated a number of services between London, Worcester and Great Malvern on June 14 and 15.
Regular duties for the nine-coach trains are now planned to start on Monday, June 18, when the 17.22 from London to Hereford will switch from operation by an HST.
A week later, on Monday, June 25, the following services are due to see nine-coach IETs replace HSTs:
- 05.14 from London to Moreton-in-Marsh
- 05.28 from Hereford to London
- 07.10 from Moreton-in-Marsh to London
- 12.21 from London to Worcester
- 15.22 from Worcester to London
- 17.52 from London to Worcester
- 20.59 from Worcester to London
This change will mean about half of the weekday services on the Cotswold Line will be operated by the new bi-mode trains, which are able to use 25,000-volt overhead power cables where these have been installed, then switch to diesel power for other routes.
On Cotswold Line services, this changeover now takes place just east of Didcot, but will switch to Oxford in future, once Network Rail completes planned electrification of the line from Didcot.
Five-coach IETs have been in use on a number of Cotswold Line services since New Year's Eve and more five-coach and nine-coach units will replace other HSTs and Turbo units over the course of this year. Overnight stabling of IETs at Worcester and Hereford is planned to begin in September.