Intercity Express Train breaks speed record

Intercity Record Train
Credit: GWR

With their new Intercity Express Train, Great Western Railway has set a new speed record between Oxford and London Paddington. This is to mark the 175th anniversary of the opening of the railway between Oxford and Didcot.

GWR’s bullet style train has been in service since October 2017 and now operates on all of GWR’s long distance routes. The train formed a special service from Oxford to London Paddington non-stop, departing Oxford at 11:27.

Taking just 37 minutes 35 seconds, the train departed at 11:27:04 and arrived into London Paddington at 12:04:39.

The previous time was 40 mins 45 seconds which was set on 19 August 1982. It was made by a High Speed Train travelling at an average of 93.1 MPH, during a state visit.

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.

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 now also allow GWR to provide more frequent services between the North Cotswolds, via Oxford, and London and to reduce journey times.

What did the officials say?

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.”

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.”

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Emma Holden avatar
I have been around trains at heritage railways all my life. In particular, the narrow gauge trains in Wales, and spent many Duncan days at the Talyllyn Railway when I was younger. I have been a volunteer author for RailAdvent since 2019
  • 3 minutes and 10 seconds – and it’s only taken 37 years to achieve it. Another fantastic achievement by the UK rail industry!

  • Suppose that the GWR Class 800 and Class 802 IETs are much quicker than the Class 43 HSTs which has replaced them. Except some will be kept on Cardiff Central-Penzance and Cardiff Central-Exeter St. David’s services which is formed as 4-Car and 5-Car with 2 power cars.