Great Western Railway’s first Intercity Express Train has made its maiden voyage to Cornwall this morning, as part of a special test journey from London Paddington to Penzance.

Part of an expo event with Cornwall Council to showcase improved rail services for the south west, the Intercity Express Train (IET) (800 003 and 800 004) left London Paddington at 0533 and arrived at Penzance Station at 1101.

Transport minister, Paul Maynard, said: “We are upgrading our railways to deliver the biggest modernisation programme for over a century and the improvements that passengers have asked for.

“These new trains will offer greater capacity, reduced journey times and more reliable services from London to Penzance.”

The new rolling stock replaces 40-year-old trains currently serving this key intercity route. Typical journey times from London to Penzance will improve by 14 minutes.

Sandra Rothwell, chief executive of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Good connectivity is vital to business and the growth of our economy which is why we have made rail investment one of our top priorities.

“These fantastic new GWR trains, coupled with ongoing investment from the LEP and its partners in signalling, station upgrades and WiFi, will transform main line rail services in Cornwall with increased frequency, more comfort and faster journey times.”

The 93 train fleet is fitted with bi-mode technology, allowing trains to use both diesel and electric power, and passengers to enjoy the benefits of new trains as soon as possible. Prior to entering service next summer, the train will now be made ready to begin testing on the network.