OBSERVERS had a glimpse of the high speed train that will be bringing tourists to Weymouth this summer.
First Great Western ran a special service to the resort at the weekend featuring the HST power cars and eight carriages usually seen on main lines between London and major cities.
It will be used for the ‘bucket and spade’ summer Saturday service from Bristol Temple Meads to Weymouth, with the first one running on May 24, arriving at 11.45am and making the return journey at 5.28pm.
Offering much more room than the two-car trains that run on the route, the HST will operate until September 6.
Despite its capacity to operate up to 125mph, it will not be travelling at high speed.
The introduction of the longer, prestigious train for summer comes after complaints the rail operator did not provide enough carriages on the Bristol line over Easter.
Borough council tourism spokesman Ian Bruce heard reports of passengers being turned away from packed-out trains.
He said: “It is farcical having only two carriages on.
“Railway companies are supposed to cater for the demand and they have the knowledge that demand to come to Weymouth is high.
“First Great Western is simply not doing what they are employed to do. To cram people into two carriages is not acceptable and it would put people off from coming to Weymouth.”
The rail operator apologised and said it regularly adds additional carriages to accommodate increases in demand.
A spokesman said extra carriages will be added to weekend services with the start of the summer timetable on May 19, plus there is the Saturday-only HST service which will have eight carriages.
First Great Western is naming this service the ‘Weymouth Wizard’ but the summer Saturday-only train is traditionally known as the bucket and spade train as it brings people to the coast.
Heart of Wessex Rail Partnership volunteer Andy Hutchings, from Weymouth, said the HST service was ‘good news for Weymouth’.
He added: “It means many people will be able to travel in comfort to Weymouth.”
Mr Hutchings was at Weymouth station to witness the train come in last Saturday and said it drew many onlookers.