The first Intercity Express train bound for GWR’s London to Penzance route has arrived in the UK.

From next year, a new fleet of Class 802 Intercity Express trains will connect London Paddington to the south west.

A five-car test train (802 001) built at Hitachi’s factory in Japan arrived in Southampton on Saturday. The train was welcomed onto UK soil by GWR, Hitachi (train manufacturer) and Eversholt Rail (financers of the Class 802 fleet).

The train will now be made ready to begin testing this summer. Two further test trains will arrive in the coming weeks.

The new fleet harnesses Hitachi’s pioneering Japanese bullet train technology. Passengers can expect more seats, better on-board facilities and shorter journey times.

Passengers will also benefit from new on-board technology, including real-time journey updates and seat reservation screens.

The Intercity Express train is also designed, says the manufacturer, to withstand the region’s variable weather conditions, including routes along the Dawlish coast.

Hitachi Rail Europe’s project director, Berry Sas, said: “Passengers travelling between London and the South West are today a step closer to experiencing modern trains. Our trains are designed to ensure passengers on long journeys have a comfortable experience with more luggage space and a smooth ride.

“We are now excited to begin testing on the region’s iconic railway as we continue towards the brand new fleet entering passenger service next year.”