First brand new Transport for Wales trains being put through their paces
Testing has begun on brand new Transport for Wales trains which are due to enter service from next year.
The first two of a fleet of 77 new Class 197s diesel trains ordered Spanish manufacturer CAF are currently being tested in the north of Wales.
The bodyshells of the trains were built in Beasain in the north of Spain before final assembly at CAF’s £30m factory in the Celtic Business Park near Llanwern Steelworks, Newport, which now employs more than 200 people.
“The Class 197s will be an important part of the transformation of the Wales and Borders network. We look forward to welcoming passengers onto the new trains from next year,” said Transport for Wales Chief Executive James Price.
“We’re delighted with the quality of the trains and proud that final assembly has taken place in Newport, supporting highly-skilled jobs and bringing further employment to the area.”
The trains have features such as air conditioning and leather seats in first class, along with a smart seat reservation system, which are downloaded from the reservation computer for each journey.
Lee Waters, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Climate Change, said: “As we recover from the pandemic and work towards a greener future, we need to do all we can to encourage more people back on the train.
“Seeing these new trains coming off the production line is a positive sign of improving the quality of train travel in Wales.”
The Welsh Government announced in October of last year that they were bringing the Wales and Borders rail franchise under public control.
They said that they were doing so “in the face of dramatic falls in passenger numbers”.
Transport Minister Ken Skates said the move will help secure the future of passenger services in Wales and the Borders area, protect jobs and maintain the Welsh Government’s ambitious plans for Metro.
The move comes after a “challenging period” in which Covid-19 has significantly impacted passenger numbers and rail revenue across Wales.