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Watch: Wales’ first tram trains unveiled

31 Jul 2023 3 minute read
Brand-new electric tram trains have been unveiled at their new £100 million depot – Image: TfW

Brand-new electric tram trains set to revolutionise transport across the south Wales valleys have been unveiled at their new £100 million depot at Taff’s Well.

As part of the South Wales Metro project being delivered by Transport for Wales, the light rail vehicles are the first to be introduced in Wales, operating on both electric lines and battery power.

Travelling up to 100 km/h on rail they will also be able to run on tram lines and at 40 metres long will hold up to 252 passengers.

The new £100 million Taff’s Well depot will provide electrical controls and signalling for the network as well as a maintenance depot for the new tram trains.

The control centre is now operational and providing signalling for trains on the Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr railway lines.

The transformation of the Core Valley Lines for the Metro has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through Welsh Government, and will enable faster, more frequent services between Cardiff and the heads of the valleys.

The trams have arrived at Taffs Well

Progress

Karl Gilmore, Rail Infrastructure Director at TfW said: “We’re making huge progress at our depot at Taff’s Well and everything is now becoming very visual.

“The maintenance depot and control centre buildings are both erected and can be clearly seen and the railway tracks connecting the depot to the mainline have been laid.

“Our new tram trains are here and are currently being tested at the depot and on our valley lines. We’ve already electrified our first phase of lines in the valleys and will continue to do so over the coming months.

“It’s a really exciting time for South Wales as this depot and these tram trains will revolutionise transport in the region.”

Alexia Course, Chief Commercial Officer added: “Our Citylink Class 398 Tram Trains that have been manufactured by Stadler are now on test in South Wales and this signifies another step closer to delivering the South Wales Metro.

“We have ordered 36 of these 3 car tram trains and they are spacious and bright with multifunctional areas for bicycles, seats for people with reduced mobility and wheelchair passenger spaces.

“The light rail vehicles are designed to connect city centres with outlying areas and we’re excited to add them to our network in the coming months.”


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Pete Cuthbert
Pete Cuthbert
8 months ago

How lovely to have some nice new tram trains. Too bad these 3 car sets are not suited to the Aberystwyth line. A few 3 car sets would mean passengers might actually be able to sit down during the journey…

Ap Kenneth
8 months ago
Reply to  Pete Cuthbert

At least you had trains unlike another line which was reduced to a bus replacement service for a month so that other lines could have the trains>

Paul
Paul
8 months ago
Reply to  Pete Cuthbert

The Aberystwyth line will be getting class 197s.
21 x 2 car trains (which can be doubled up to four car trains) have been ordered specifically for Aber/Pwllheli to Birmingham. These 21 units will only operate on this route and won’t be sent north/south to cover services elsewhere.

No article can cover everything, but this article is specifically about the Class 389 trains. Hope this post is helpful to you.

Buzz
Buzz
8 months ago

Shame they don’t have any toilet facilities!

Paul
Paul
8 months ago
Reply to  Buzz

Do buses have toilets? Does the underground in London have toilets? Do trams in cities across the UK and Europe have toilets?

Bob McIntyre
Bob McIntyre
8 months ago

More “puff” from TfW. Does “enacted” mean finished? The Taffs Well I see from the train is anything but finished. And “tram” trains? Do they have any tram track to run on? And “battery power”? There’s a view circulating that these new trains don’t have the power to get up some of the valleys with a full load on battery power alone. While Rome (or do I mean Cardiff, in this instance?) burns, the rest of us in rural Wales have to put up with a rubbish service of cancellations and breakdowns. If this was England the knives would be… Read more »

Glwyo
Glwyo
8 months ago
Reply to  Bob McIntyre

Eh? What exactly is happening over here in England to improve public transport, besides throwing £100bn of public money at cronies for a slightly faster service between London and Birmingham? Bristol is down the road from me and there’s bugger all improvement forthcoming that I can see, the city itself has no integrated transport system (though they gave BRT a go, and rediscovered why it’s crap), the line to Exeter has been left unelectrified etc. All I see on the ground is greenwash as more roads are built whilst puff pieces highlight all the “active transport” improvements we’re getting… that… Read more »

Ap Kenneth
8 months ago

Hopefully TFW have got their act together after the debacle with the 175’s catching fire after a change of maintenance regime.
The Metro and the new train sets should change perceptions but not until the end of 2024, if it all runs as promised, so TfW cannot afford more catastrophic mistakes. I really hope it runs like clockwork because it would be really nice to have a system that works and is reliable, more than that good transport links are needed to increase productivity in Wales.
Fingers crossed.

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