2018 heralds substantial developments for the West Country. Coming in will be the Hitachi Class 802 AT300 trains that will be replacing HSTs on the Paddington route over the next 18 months, plus the 11 mini-HSTs of 2+4 formation that will be pressed into service on the Devon and Cornwall main line.
The completion of electrification to Cardiff in January 2019 will be marked with a new timetable that will transform Great Western Railway services. For Devon, there will be an hourly service between Plymouth and Paddington, with more consistent journey times throughout the day. These services will be fast between Taunton and Reading, with intermediate stations on the Berks & Hants line served by a two-hourly semi-fast Class 802. The Peninsula Rail Task Force, a consortium of local authorities and enterprise partnerships, has been pressing for an hourly Berks & Hants semi-fast, but this has not been supported by Government so far.