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First brand new Transport for Wales trains being put through their paces

31 May 2021 2 minutes Read
Transport for Wales Class 197 train. Picture by Transport for Wales

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.

‘Positive’

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.

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Pwl
Pwl
6 months ago

not that much of a greener future if they’re diesel !

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
6 months ago
Reply to  Pwl

They are diesel.

Kevin branfield
Kevin branfield
6 months ago
Reply to  Pwl

no, as especially as they dont run on low sulphur diesel or have dpf fitted

Romsey
Romsey
6 months ago

It’s very hard not to buy low sulphur traction gas oil or diesel fuel nowadays. ( DB Cargo and Freightliner were specifying low sulphur fuel 10 years ago.) Being modern rolling stock they will be built to the euro6 standards and have ad-blue (or similar) systems to reduce NOx emissions.

j humphrys
j humphrys
5 months ago
Reply to  Romsey

Euro6! Sort of pre Brexit……………..

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
6 months ago
Reply to  Pwl

Better than the units they are replacing which are up to 37 years old.
The alternative is electrification at half a million a mile at 2010 prices for the 2,700 miles of passenger rail. TfW took over after KeolisAmey ordered them and Westminster wrecked Welsh rail electrification.

All the franchises are renewing with similar units on non-electrified lines.

Cristoforo
Cristoforo
6 months ago
Reply to  Pwl

Bit if there are no overhead lines on most of the network what other choice is there?

Quornby
Quornby
6 months ago

Now for Carmarthen to Aber line to run them on.

Romsey
Romsey
6 months ago
Reply to  Quornby

I suspect that is low on the priorities for TfW. Many millions of pounds to provide a service which will only carry tourists. The money could be better spent on signalling upgrades on the North Wales Coast and extending the electrification to Swansea.

Merlyn Cooper
Merlyn Cooper
6 months ago
Reply to  Romsey

It won’t “only” carry tourists, I would visit friends in cardiff a lot more from aberystwyth if I wasn’t going to feel sick everytime I took a coach down.

Catriona Yule
Catriona Yule
6 months ago
Reply to  Romsey

Only tourists?!? I dont think you travel by train much.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
6 months ago
Reply to  Romsey

Forget any thoughts of electrification to Swansea, The electrification from Paddington to Cardiff went over budget by 1 billion pounds . Electrification from Cardiff to Swansea would only reduce the journey time by 10 minuites meaning that the journey time from Swansea to Paddington would be exactly the same as when the HSTs entered service in 1977. The Carmarthen to Aberystwyth service would provide a rail link between North and South which would mean rail passengers wouldn’t have to go to England for connecting trains. As for your comment on tourists since when have Lampeter and Tregaron been in the… Read more »

Rex
Rex
6 months ago
Reply to  Romsey

Um, no. If there were trains running between here and Aberystwyth, I’d be looking at jobs up there. Hardly the actions of a tourist

Alex
Alex
6 months ago
Reply to  Romsey

Aberystwyth’s population inflates pretty dramatically with the university term, same is true for Lampeter and Carmarthen which are also university towns. In fact the railway line would directly link up 5 university campuses if you include the two in Swansea.

Sure, tourism is one thing, but the biggest economic benefit of that line would be connecting those universities to south wales.

I wouldn’t write off tourism either – connect Aberystwyth to Swansea and Cardiff and you’ve connected the Cambrian line to those cities as well.

Aimee Carter
Aimee Carter
6 months ago

Maybe new trains means reinstatement of the cancelled commuter trains across the North Wales coast? Sort yourselves out TFW, poor service up here!

Cristoforo
Cristoforo
6 months ago
Reply to  Aimee Carter

Yes but only 15 people live in North Wales.

j humphrys
j humphrys
5 months ago
Reply to  Cristoforo

15 likes!

david hughes
david hughes
5 months ago
Reply to  Cristoforo

Idiot comment, from an idiot?

Christina Macaulay
Christina Macaulay
6 months ago

Wonder how many bikes they can take….

Patrick Thomas
Patrick Thomas
5 months ago

CAF is a Basque company and it is building the Jerusalem Light Rail (JLR), a tramline serving Israel’s illegal settlements in Jerusalem. The JLR passes through the Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, which Israel wants to ethnically cleanse. Saturday is the annual shareholder meeting of CAF. Welsh Government should not be giving contracts to CAF.


Anthony Oconnor
5 months ago

It will have more carriages then the class 143/142

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