A First Look at New Trains for Birmingham Cross-City Line

West Midlands Trains has published some first pictures of the new electric trains that will operate on Birmingham’s Cross-City Line.

The train operator will introduce the new electric trains under its West Midlands Railway (WMR) brand to run between Lichfield, Bromsgrove and Redditch.

The West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, inspected the new Class 730 fleet, which Bombardier is manufacturing in Derby, together with WMR managing director Julian Edwards.

New electric Bombardier AVENTRA Class 730 trains for the West Midlands
New electric Bombardier AVENTRA Class 730 trains for the West Midlands

The fleet will consist of 36 three-car trains that are based on Bombardier’s Aventra platform. They will have a top speed of 140km/h. In addition, they will feature air-conditioning, free wifi, and at-seat power and USB sockets.

In line with accessibility regulations, they will also have dedicated wheelchair spaces and passengers will be able to travel with their bicycles.

Bombardier has completed the construction of the first unit. It is undergoing testing in Europe and should enter passenger service in 2021.

The other West Midlands Train brand – London Northwestern Railway – has ordered 45 five-car Class 730s. These will operate between the West Midlands, Liverpool and London.

Julian Edwards, Managing Director, West Midlands Railway, said:

“These superb new electric trains will enhance the travelling experience for our customers and I am delighted to see for myself that progress has been continuing apace despite the challenge of coronavirus.

“This is one of two new fleets we are introducing as we increase our capacity by 25% as we continue to welcome passengers back to the railway.

“Now more than ever our £700m investment into our new train projects will play a vital role in the future of train travel in the West Midlands and beyond.”

The 700 million GBP investment in new trains also includes diesel trains for the West Midlands. WMR will introduce 26 new Class 196 trains on to its network. These trains are currently undergoing dynamic testing in the West Midlands.

Speaking about the new Class 730s Mayor Andy Street spoke favourably about their ability to help passengers leave the car at home and travel by a more environmentally friendly transport mode instead:

Andy Street:

“These state-of-the-art trains will make a real difference to commuters on the Cross-City Line, not only with their modern new features but by adding extra capacity onto a line that has been a victim of its own success. These electric trains are an even greener alternative to the car and are key in the fight against air pollution and climate change.

“Public transport has been one of the real success stories of the West Midlands in recent years, with every mode – train, bus, and tram – seeing an increase in patronage. Clearly coronavirus has stalled that progress but we must not get knocked off course.”

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