Testing Starts On Class 756 And 231
New FLIRT trains being built for the Wales and Borders network have reached key milestone as testing of the fleet has started in Europe.
FLIRT’S or to give them there full title “The Fast Light Intercity and Regional Trains” are being built by train manufacturer Stadler of Switzerland and are now under going testing at the test track facility based at the headquarters.
Once testing is complete the units will then be transferred to South Wales where local testing and mileage accumulation will take place on the Wales and Borders network. On completion of this testing they will begin to enter service from the end of 2022.
All Part Of A Wider plan
The new units are a key part of Transport for Wales plans to update and improve its rolling stock for passengers, The additional 35 trains will run within the South Wales Metro network. The Class 756 tri-mode FLIRTs will operate services on the Rhymney, Coryton and Vale of Glamorgan Lines. The Class 231 diesel FLIRTs will operate services between Cardiff and Ebbw Vale, Maesteg and Cheltenham.
The trains will have greater capacity, will be more frequent and will 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.
Sandro Muster, project manager at Stadler, commented: “The FLIRT is Stadler’s best-selling product for passengers. With more than 1,970 of them sold in 21 countries, it is reliable, innovative and suited to a wide range of climates and geographies, including cities and regions alike.
“Of the 35 FLIRTs for Transport for Wales, 24 units will be tri-mode, capable of running on diesel, overhead electric wires, as well as battery power, underscoring Stadler’s green credentials and commitment to decarbonisation.”
James Price, Transport for Wales CEO said: “From day one at TfW 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.
“We’ve already started testing on some of our new trains within Wales and I’m pleased our Stadler FLIRTs are now being tested in Europe and will then be sent to us for testing on our network.
“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 is greener for the environment.”
Fleet Growth And Long overdue Retirement
Improved rail service between Cardiff and Holyhead was launched just last month with greater capacity and fully refurbished intercity Mark 4 carriages. TFW also announced the purchase of further Mark 4 carriages to be used between South Wales and Manchester from next year.
Class 197 trains being assembled in Newport are also now ungoing testing
Also introduced into service earlier in the year were eight class 769 trains and this summer saw the retirement of the train which was only suppose to be a stop gap measure and had a service life of 20 years years but ended up surviving for 30 years of course we talking about the Pacer.