800316 Purton 20 October 2018

800316 passes Purton on 20 October 2018 with the 1L50 11:00 Cheltenham Spa to Paddington GWR service. At least here there are no overhead wires to bring down! Just a few days earlier, one of the new Class 802 fleet (identical to the 800s, except for a different engine rating) managed to rip down 500 metres of overhead wiring near Hanwell. This was bad enough, given how many decades 25kV pantograph technology has been with us, but far worse was the fact that it shut down all lines into Paddington for most of the day! Apart from more seats and quicker acceleration (only on electric power) these new units offer no advantages over the HSTs they replace. Their hard seats have been universally condemned, and now their ability to totally devastate a section of railway is something the HSTs would find extremely difficult to do!