The First New Class 701 Train Arrives for SWR

The first of 90 Class 701 trains has been delivered to South Western Railway. The 10-car electric multiple unit will begin a full programme of testing in July.

In total, South Western Railway is getting a new fleet worth almost 1 billion GBP – 90 trains in total.

Manufactured by Bombardier Transportation, the Class 701 Aventra train will be commissioned as part of Bombardier’s network testing regime to get ORR certification before the fleet enters passenger service later in 2020. It is stabled at Eastleigh.

GB Rail Freight hauled the train from Derby over a distance of almost 200 miles.

SWR Class 701 Aventra EMU
First Class 701 Aventra EMU arrives for SWR

As part of the testing programme, SWR will check the new systems that were designed especially for the Class 701 trains. These include new communications systems, more environmentally friendly toilets, sensitive edge doors, regenerative braking and passenger features such as wifi and at-seat charging points.

SWR operates services on an extremely busy rail network. The trains’ technology will help their punctuality, especially during peak travel times.

More trains from this fleet will arrive in the coming weeks and months from Bombardier’s site.

“I’m delighted to see us achieving another major milestone. The programme is gathering pace and we’re entering an important phase of the project as we begin real-world testing on our network ahead of the trains entering passenger service later this year.

“We’ve been working hard with Bombardier to ensure that these trains are fit and ready to transform journeys for suburban passengers.”

The trains will run on the Reading, Windsor, and South West London suburban lines. Of the 90 trains, 60 will be 10-car units, while 30 will be 5-car units. Bombardier won the contract to supply the trains in 2017.

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