Work is continuing on the construction of Transport for Wales’ new trains for the Wales and Borders rail network and the South Wales Metro despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
TfW is investing £800 million into new trains and tram-trains to totally transform the customer experience throughout their Wales and Borders network. Work has been progressing with industry partners CAF and Stadler to design and build the new trains that will operate on 95% of their rail services.
Significant progress has been made on the Class 398 tram-trains and work has begun on the Class 231 trains. Both are being built by Stadler for the South Wales Metro. Alongside these, the Class 197 Civity trains being built for use on other Wales and Borders routes are currently being assembled at CAF’s factory in Llanwern.
James Price, Transport for Wales CEO, said: “It’s great to see progress on our brand-new trains. I’m delighted our partners at CAF and Stadler have been able to progress with assembly despite the challenging situation we find ourselves in.
“COVID-19 will continue to present challenges but we’ve been able to move forward and this month and we’ve now seen huge progress on our trains, at our Taff’s Well Depot as well as successful delivery of track transformation work on the Aberdare line.
“TfW is continuing to deliver on our transformational plans and these faster, more efficient trains are fundamental to improving journey times, service frequency and our sustainability goals.”
TfW is also in the process of carrying out testing of the Class 769 trains on the Cardiff to Rhymney line. The larger trains, providing more seats and better accessibility will be introduced in all-day service in December.
Frank Renault, TfW Transformation Programme Director, said: “The manufacturing of our new fleets and testing of the Class 769 trains are big steps forward on our transformation journey, in difficult times.
“I’d like to thank our dedicated project managers and engineering colleagues for their tireless efforts in delivering this project and our delivery partners, for their professionalism and resolve in continuing this progress and most importantly our passengers for their understanding and support.”
Sandro Muster, Stadler project manager, commented: “With the production of car bodies for the 35 FLIRTs now well underway, next week will mark the beginning of another highly significant stage in the manufacturing process, known as final assembly. This is when the main components that make up the train are fitted, including the bogies, equipment cases, piping, wiring, flooring, windows, seats and other internal fixtures. This point, when trains really start to look like trains, brings them one step closer to passenger introduction in a few years’ time.”
Photo credit: Transport for Wales