THE first of a multi-billion pound fleet of trains arrived in Didcot this morning - but its inaugural journey was plagued by delays and broken air conditioning.

In what Great Western Railway has described as ‘the biggest fleet upgrade in a generation’, a new Class 800 Intercity Express Train pulled into Didcot Parkway station on its way from Bristol to London Paddington.

The train was supposed to leave Bristol Temple Meads at 6am but didn’t get going until 6.25am after what manufacturers Hitachi said was a ‘minor technical issue’.

The delay meant that Oxfordshire’s travellers didn’t get a chance to get on board the train until 7.26am, 27 minutes behind schedule.

Further delays meant that the train arrived in London Paddington 41 minutes late.

Beth Rowley, who travelled from Didcot to London, said the announcement of delays was greeted by ‘ironic cheers’ from passengers, many of whom were standing despite an increase in seats in the new models.

A live feed of the journey filmed from a helicopter had to be paused whilst the passengers waited for the issue to be rectified.

Pictures posted on social media also showed passengers dodging water gushing from a leaky air conditioning unit.

Ms Rowley said she had seen a ‘damp-looking seat’ and that the windows got steamy after the air conditioning was turned off.

Replacing carriages that are now 40 years old, the new trains have 24 per cent more seats, increased legroom, more tables, wi-fi and more plug sockets.

Before arriving in Didcot, the train clocked 125 miles per hour, its current maximum speed.

Ms Rowley, 22, travelled from her home in West London to Didcot early in the morning to have a chance to experience riding on the new trains for herself.

She said: “They are very modern looking and spacious with high ceilings.

“You wouldn’t want to sit on the seats for a long journey as they get quite stiff but I’m told they will be upgrading them.

“All the unreserved seats are shown with a green light which makes it so much easier.

“You can tell they have put a lot of thought in to how to make it more comfortable for passengers.

“I don’t feel that we have had a new fleet of trains for a long time and it’s quite exciting.

“A lot of the people on the train were train spotters and people who had come out especially so that added to the over-crowding.

“I’d say it’s as nice as it can be.”

The Government deal to purchase 122 of the new Hitachi trains fleet is worth £5.7bn.

The new models were built in County Durham using Japanese bullet train technology.

They have been designed to operate on both diesel and electric power after plans to electrify the track west of London Paddington were delayed.

Earlier this year the Government announced the electrification of the railway between Oxford and Didcot will go ahead as planned despite the project being scrapped across other parts of the country.

New trains are expected to be in use on the Oxford to London line in December.

Also travelling through Oxfordshire on the eventful journey were dozens of dignitaries including the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling.

The minister said: “I am delighted to see the first of the new fleet of Intercity Express trains come into service to give Great Western passengers faster, more comfortable trains and better journeys.

“The roll-out of these new trains on the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast line shows our commitment to putting passengers at the heart of everything that we do.”