TRAIN users have welcomed a new hybrid train with open arms into Bedwyn Station as Great Western Railway celebrate the launch of a new fleet of electric and diesel run trains.

A ten year battle to protect the direct line from Bedwyn to Paddington has been fought by Bedwyn Trains Passenger Group after it came under threat in 2009 when the electrification as far as Newbury was announced. The decision to switch to bi-mode trains using electric to Newbury and then diesel onwards, which have been built in Italy, saved the day.

Steve Smith of the passenger group said: “It has been a long, and often painful, battle over nearly ten years. But over recent years we feel we have been listened to and the DfT, Network Rail and GWR have come up with a solution that we are delighted, with an improved service without the negative impact of overhead pylons, gantries and cables.”

Bus replacement services while the line is upgraded between Reading and Newbury has affecting travel but on Tuesday evening the first bi mode train pulled into the station with jubilant supporters ready to wave it in. Bus replacement services will continue in July, August, October and November.