Class 800-802

800001 Old Dalby (Asfordby Depot) 28 August 2015

800001, the prototype Hitachi built IEP (Intercity Express Programme) bi-mode unit stands at the Asfordby Depot end of the Old Dalby test track on 28 August 2015. It's pantograph is up, and some systems on board are running, but there are no signs of imminent movement. Note that the nose cone sections have been retracted to reveal the coupling. 800001 was constructed at Hitachi's Kasado works in Japan, and shipped to this country from the port of Kobe aboard the MV Tamerlane, arriving at Southampton on 11 March 2015, and was unloaded the following day. Being built in Japan this will presumably be virtually fault free, but even so an extensive programme of testing will be undertaken prior to the fleet's introduction into service in 2017.

800001 Shrivenham (Ashbiry Crossing) 28 March 2017

800001 passes the site of Ashbury Crossing, near Shrivenham, on 28 March 2017 with the 1X80 10:37 Paddington to Bristol Parkway test run. This picture says it all really, with the Japanese built bi-mode DEMU delivered on time, and seemingly proving to be very reliable, while Network Rail's attempt to electrify the Great Western Mainline is years behind schedule, and massively over budget. It's a good job these units are bi-modes, as they are certainly going to need their engines, even on this stretch of line, which should have been fully wired by now!

800001 South Marston 28 March 2017

800001 passes South Marston on 28 March 2017 with the 1X81 12:19 Bristol Parkway to Paddington test run. The white colour scheme of this first production unit certainly shows up, and looks more impressive than the drab dark green that the GWR units will be outshopped in. However, practically green is probably better on the working railway, as I presume 800001 has had lots of tender loving care and cleaning, to keep it looking this pristine.

800001 Uffington 29 March 2017

800001 passes Uffington on 29 March 2017 with the 5X80 10:37 Paddington to Bristol Parkway test run. The site of Uffington station in the foreground is now a worksite for the Great Western Mainline electfrication project. The forsythia bush in the foreground is a herald of spring, even if the weather isn't!

800001 Steventon 29 March 2017

800001 passes Steventon on 29 March 2017 with the 5X81 12:19 Bristol Parkway to Paddington test run. An extremely dull day has enabled this picture to be taken from the north side of the line, which also gives a view down the long straight beyond the village's two level crossings in the background.

800001 & 800002 Challow 6 April 2017

800001 & 800002 pass Challow on 6 April 2017 with the 5X31 10:17 Swindon to Reading West Junction test run. A pity the 'Inspiration Delivered' red logo covered 800002 was not leading, but it can be seen underneath the road bridge. However, the white livery of 800001 certainly shows up well in the early morning sunshine. Sunshine was certainly not predicted by the Met Office!

800001 & 800002 Steventon 6 April 2017

Running 23 minutes early, 800001 & 800002 pass Steventon on 6 April 2017 with the 5X33 12:46 Swindon to Reading West Junction test train. I presume that once they are in service, two five car Class 800/0s will be an unusual working, with a single nine coach Class 800/3 being used for longer trains. The formation pictured here has no corridor connection between the two halves.

800001 & 800002 Uffington 5 May 2017

800001 & 800002 pass Uffington in a very lucky patch of sunshine on 5 May 2017 with the 5X32 11:04 Reading West Junction to Swindon test train. This was formerly the site of Uffington loops, which were removed after the line was quadrupled between Challow and Wantage Road. What a pity that the footbridge from which this picture was taken wasn't installed decades ago, before the electfrication masts and the radio mast disfigured the view.

800002 & 800001 Challow 6 April 2017

800002 & 800001 approach Challow at high speed on 6 April 2017 with the 5X30 08:24 North Pole IEP Depot to Swindon test run, the first of a series of test runs undertaken over the Great Western Mainline on this particular day.

800002 & 800001 Steventon 6 April 2017

After their booked sojourn in the down loop, 800002 & 800001 regain the mainline at Steventon on 6 April 2017 with the 5X32 11:04 Reading West Junction to Swindon test train. Unfortunately this corresponded with one of the clouds that were now building up. The reflection of some of these can be seen in the shiny black area above 800002's windscreen.

800002 & 800001 Uffington 5 May 2017

800002 & 800001 pass Uffington on 5 May 2017 with the 5X31 10:17 Swindon to Reading West Junction test run. This was running nine minutes late, due to the previous westbound trip from North Pole IEP Depot having left London 35 minutes late. This late running was fortunate, as I had only just arrived at Uffington's new footbridge. This immaculate pair of white liveried bi-mode units certainly stand out against the green foliage, which is something that unfortunately will not be the case with the dark green production units that will soon be commonplace on this line. Also, it seems that a pair of five car units is a perfect fit for this particular location!

800003 & 800004 Shrivenham (Ashbury Crossing) 15 June 2017

800003 Queen Victoria & 800004 Isambard Kingdom Brunel approach the site of Ashbury Crossing, near Shrivenham, on 15 June 2017 with the 5X19 07:34 North Pole IEP Depot to Taunton test run. 800004 would be detached at Swindon, leaving 800003 to go on alone, with 800004 following shortly afterwards as the 5X20 09:06 (10:20 in reality) Swindon to Taunton. It looks like 800004 is in a different livery in this picture, but that is purely a result of reflections from the bright sky. In fact GWR's green livery is so dark, that it is nothing but reflections along the entire highly polished bodyside and roof!

800003 Steventon 28 August 2017

800003 Queen Elizabeth II passes Steventon on 28 August 2017 with the 3X14 09:50 Stoke Gifford to Reading Traincare Depot test run. The short gap in the electfrication masts at this point is due to the ongoing battle between villagers and Network Rail concerning the proposed demolition of the roadbridge. At least there is still one photographic vantage point still left on the line, at least in the short term!

800003 South Marston 27 October 2017

800003 Queen Elizabeth II passes South Marston on 27 October 2017 with the 3Z24 10:10 Stoke Gifford to Reading Traincare Depot crew training run. Although it looks like a completely sunny day, there was in fact a lot of cloud to the south, and it was lucky that this was running two minutes early, as shortly afterwards the clouds starting getting in the way of the sun.

800004 Compton Beauchamp 22 August 2016

800004 Isambard Kingdom Brunel passes Compton Beauchamp in near darkness on 22 August 2016 with the 5X80 19:12 Stoke Gifford to North Poke IEP Depot ECS. This is my first picture of a Class 800 actually on the move, but unfortunately GWR's drab dark green livery and the atrocious light do make an ideal combination! Although these units will regularly work along this line in due course, I thought it would be opportune to get at least one picture of these new trains at this location while there is still no evidence of the overhead electrification catenary.

800004 Oaksey 1 September 2017

800004 Sir Daniel Gooch passes the site of Oaksey station on 1 September 2017 with the 3X17 09:02 Gloucester to Swindon crew training test run. Although there were only a few small clouds in the sky at this time, I was fortunate to get this in the sun, as it was cloudy just before it came into view, and again just after it had passed by! Photo taken from a public footpath crossing.

800005 & 800006 Steventon (Stocks Lane) 8 November 2017

800005 & (hidden by the buddleia bush) 800006 approach Stocks Lane, Steventon, on 8 November 2017 with the 1B40 13:45 Paddington to Swansea GWR service. A long lens was required here in order to clear numerous foreground shadows.

800006 & 800005 South Marston 27 October 2017

Two weeks after their eventful introduction into service, when in front of the country's media they suffered both power supply and air conditioning failures on the very first run, the offending IEP units (800006 & 800005) were behaving themselves on 27 October 2017, when seen here passing South Marston with the 1B12 08:15 Paddington to Cardiff Central GWR service.

800006 & 800012 Denchworth (Circourt Bridge) 24 November 2017

The wires are up at Circourt Bridge, Denchworth, on 24 November 2017, but not yet energized, so 800006 & 800012 are running on diesel power, as they head westwards with the 1B40 13:45 Paddington to Swansea GWR service.

800008 Uffington 22 September 2017

New meets old at Uffington on 22 September 2017. 800008 heads east with the 3X15 10:25 Swindon to Reading Traincare Depot test run, while 43162 gets in the way with the 1B20 09:45 Paddington to Swansea GWR service. This is obviously not the picture I had hoped for, but luckily I managed to get an uninterrupted view of 800009, which followed half an hour later.

800008 & 800009 Shrivenham (Ashbury Crossing) 16 October 2017

Monday 16 October 2017 saw the first booked GWR passenger service using the new Class 800 bi-mode units. Unfortunately things did not get off to a very good start, with one of the two diagrams being cancelled after the first run, due to problems raising the pantograph and a faulty air conditioning unit. Ironically, a good old reliable HST had to take over the diagram later in the day! The other diagram was worked by 800008 & 800009, and they are seen here approaching the site of Ashbury Crossing, near Shrivenham, with the 1B28 11:45 London Paddington to Swansea service. This picture is taken in possibly the worst ever conditions that I have seen during the middle of the day. ISO 3200 was required for this, and yet the Met Office was still indicating that the area was in full sun! It is extremely ironic that this massive error is on the thirtieth anniversary of the 1987 hurricane, which they failed to predict!

800008 & 800009 South Marston 27 October 2017

800008 & 800009 pass South Marston on 27 October 2017 with the 1A11 09:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington GWR service. Presumably once the nine car Class 800/3s are built, there will be less need to use five car Class 800/0s in pairs like this.

800009 Uffington 22 September 2017

800009 passes Uffington on 22 September 2017 with the 3X14 10:10 Stoke Gifford to Reading Traincare Depot test run. These new units look quite presentable in white, so much better than the awfully dull GWR green livery that they will end up in. Obviously white is not a very practical livery for the railway environment, but surely Great Western could have picked something better than the almost universally disliked green. Although there wasn't much chance of the sun going in for this picture, that would soon change, as can be seen from the mass of cloud in the background.

800010 & 800012 Churchdown 22 October 2017

800010 & 800012 pass Churchdown on Sunday 22 October 2017 with the 5X01 08:55 Stoke Gifford to Tiverton Loop (via Worcester) gauging test run. I had hoped that this would be one of the 'as delivered' white ones, which look much better in these poor lighting conditions than GWR's awful drab dark green livery.

800011 South Marston 12 June 2017

Fresh out of the box! Brand new 800011 passes South Marston on 12 June 2017 with the 5X71 10:10 North Pole IEP Depot to Stoke Gifford delivery run. The unit had left the Newton Aycliffe factory just three days earlier. It's a pity that the Great Western units are not going to retain this white livery, as it looks so much better than the awful dark green colour scheme that they will eventually be painted in. Class 800 activity in the Swindon area is now stepping up a gear, as just 18 minutes later, Virgin East Coast interloper 800101 also passed this way.

800012 & 800010 Badgeworth 22 October 2017

800012 & 800010 pass Badgeworth on Sunday 22 October 2017 with the 5X01 08:55 Stoke Gifford to Tiverton Loop gauging test run. They had just reversed at Worcester, and would shortly be taking the Stroud line to Swindon, where they would reverse again.

800013 & 800006 Grove 30 November 2017

The wires are up, but not the pantographs! 800013 & 800006 are still running on diesel power, as they pass Grove on 30 November 2017 with the 1A11 09:30 Bristol Temple Meads to Paddington GWR service. The sun has melted the early morning frost, except in the shade of the hedge in the foreground.

800101 South Marston 12 June 2017

An East Coast interloper on the Great Western Mainline! Virgin East Coast 800101 passes South Marston on 12 June 2017 with the 5X32 11:02 Reading West Junction to Swindon test run. Note the Azuma branding, which is what Virgin have decided to christen their fleet (it means East in Japanese). I'm sure enthusiasts will eventually think up different names for these high tech DMUs! Just 18 minutes earlier one of the GWR's new five car units also passed this spot, on its delivery run from the Newton Aycliffe factory.

802001 & 802002 Grove 30 November 2017

My first picture of a Class 802 - the version of the IEP bi-mode unit with more powerful engines. 802001 & 802002 pass Grove on 30 November 2017 with the 5Z19 09:34 North Pole Depot to Taunton Signal E483 test run. Note the complete lack of any GWR branding.