New InterCity trains are running as ‘ghost services’

New InterCity trains bought in £5.7bn rail revamp are running as ‘ghost services’ with half their carriages locked and empty while other half are crammed due to staff shortages

  • Intercity Express Trains have been criticised for closing some of their carriages
  • Rachael Claridge, 39, was travelling with a toddler who had to sit on the floor
  • It’s another embarrassment for Great Western Railway, after the train’s maiden voyage saw delays, lack of seats and broken aircon

The hotly-anticipated Intercity Express Trains have come under fire after passengers were forced to squeeze into crowded carriages – while some were left locked and empty.

On some trains from London to south Wales and southwest England, five carriages were shut off to passengers because Great Western Railway did not have enough staff on board.

The trains, which were purchased in a £5.7billion rail revamp, saw their maiden voyage in October of last year begin with age-old complaints – including delays, no available seats, broken aircon and tickets costing £200.

During its first outing, the Hitachi 800 was due to leave Bristol Temple Meads for London Paddington at 6am sharp, but didn’t depart until 6.25am for unspecified ‘technical issues’ – meaning it arrived 41 minutes late. 

The hotly-anticipated Intercity Express Trains have come under fire after passengers were forced to squeeze into crowded carriages – while some where left locked and empty

Great Western Railway described the closed carriages as ‘isolated incidents’, but The Sunday Times report four trains were run in this way during an eight-day period in April.

One passenger, Rachael Claridge, was travelling with her family from London Paddington, to be told they should board one of the front five carriages on the train, because the other five were not open.

The 39-year-old said: ‘It was horrendous. My toddler sat on the floor and we sat by the toilets.’

A spokesperson for Great Western Railway said: ‘We do everything we can to run our services with the correct number of carriages. However, sometimes it is not always possible.’

‘The new trains offer more flexibility, enabling us to operate them with just five carriages if absolutely necessary — where we would previously have had to cancel a service.’

They also said that they run 100 more trains per day now than they did in 2016.

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