Philip Hammond, transport secretary, commented on the new high-tech trains:
“This is good news for jobs, passengers and the economy. Our decision to buy a new fleet of trains and electrify new lines will allow rail passengers along the Great Western and East Coast corridors to benefit from massive improvements to journey times, more seats and more reliable services.
“Alongside our plans for high speed rail, it completes a picture of massive upgrades to our intercity rail corridors over the coming years.
“Whilst this is, of course, subject to the government continuing to be satisfied that the proposal offers value for money as the commercial negotiations are concluded and that the final arrangements are compliant with the United Kingdom’s EU obligations, I expect that the first of the new trains will be in service by 2016.
“Extending electrification westwards to Bristol and Cardiff will also bring all the benefits of electric trains – faster acceleration, greater comfort and cleaner, greener travel – to rail passengers in Wales and the south west.
“We have also established that a strong high-level case may exist for electrifying some of the Valley lines north of Cardiff. My department will now work with the Welsh Assembly government to develop a business case for the electrification of the Cardiff Valley lines.”