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First we get double tracks, now faster trains ply Cotswold Line
5:00pm Saturday 28th July 2012 in News
RAIL passengers on the Cotswold Line can now enjoy InterCity quality trains on most weekday services, according to operator First Great Western.
The pledge came from Mark Hopwood, the company’s managing director, during a preview run along the route between Evesham and Charlbury in a Class 180 Adelante train, one of five being dedicated to services on the route.
The 125mph diesel trains, which ran on the line from 2004-9, are making a comeback to help ease overcrowding on FGW’s network.
Their return this week will allow the Thames Turbo trains they displace to be switched to London suburban services.
Use of the Adelantes will mean just one weekday train each way west of Moreton and three off-peak Moretonto- London services will be operated by Turbos.
All other services from Monday to Friday will be operated by the 280-seat Class 180s or FGW’s High Speed Trains, which have seats for between 500 and 580 passengers.
Speaking during a stop at Moreton station, Mr Hopwood said: “The vast majority of services are now going to be operated by InterCity quality trains, either 180s or HSTs.
“The overhauled Adelantes are looking really good and a lot of people have said to me that they look like brandnew trains.
“In addition, a number of the HSTs in use on Cotswold services will be extended from seven to eight coaches in the next few months, giving an extra 80 seats.
“When you add all these changes together, that’s 4,500 extra seats on our services every weekday, a nine per cent increase in capacity in morning and evening rushhours in and out of Paddington.
Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said: “This is a great advert for the Cotswold Line. The train looks fantastic from inside and looks equally good from the outside.
“I’m delighted we all managed to get the line redoubled and that First Great Western is now putting on more trains, and we hope, if it wins a new franchise, putting on a few more.”
Lord Faulkner of Worcester, the president of the Cotswold Line Promotion Group, said: “I’m sure they are going to be adding to the popularity of the service between Worcester, Oxford and London.”