New trains being built as part of Transport for Wales’ (TfW) transformation plans have begun testing in Europe.
The 35 fast light intercity and regional trains (FLIRTs), built by Stadler, are now being tested in Switzerland. They will later be transferred to south Wales for testing on the Wales and Borders network before entering into service on the South Wales Metro network from the end of 2022.
The Class 756 tri-mode FLIRTs will operate services on the Rhymney, Coryton and Vale of Glamorgan lines, while the Class 231 diesel FLIRTs will operate services between Cardiff and Ebbw Vale, and Maesteg and Cheltenham.
These trains will offer greater capacity, be more frequent and have improved facilities including power sockets, information screens and air-conditioning throughout. There will be space for up to six bikes on each train and level-boarding to assist those with limited mobility.
“From day one our main goal has been to transform transport and improve the customer experience. These brand new trains with better facilities all round will provide a modern service for the people of Wales.
“Our teams are pushing ahead building the South Wales Metro and we're moving forward with the new trains that will provide a modern turn-up-and-go service that's greener for the environment.”
This is the latest in a number of fleet developments announced by TfW this year. Last month TfW relaunched an improved rail service between Cardiff and Holyhead with greater capacity and fully refurbished intercity carriages and announced the purchase of further high-quality Mark 4 carriages to be used between South Wales and Manchester from next year.
Testing has also begun on the brand-new Class 197 trains being assembled in Newport.
Eight Class 769 trains were also introduced into service earlier in the year and this summer saw the retirement of Pacer trains from service.
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