New trains being built as part of the transformation of the 'Wales and Borders network' have reached another key milestone as testing gets underway in Europe.
The Fast Light Intercity and Regional Trains (FLIRTs) are being built by train manufacturer Stadler and are now being tested in Switzerland, where the company’s headquarters are located.
They will then be transferred to the south for further tests on the 'Wales and Borders network', where they will begin to enter service from the end of next year.
FLIRTs are a key part of TfW’s transformational plans and the additional 35 trains will run within the 'South Wales Metro network'. The Class 756 tri-mode FLIRTs will operate services on the Rhymni, Coryton, and Bro Morgannwg Lines. The Class 231 diesel FLIRTs will operate services between Caerdydd and Glynebwy, 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.
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.”