The transformation of the Wales and Borders rail network has taken another step forward with the first of the all-new Class 197 trains rolling off the production line at Newport.
Tests have started on the first two of 77 new trains expected to enter service from next year on long-distance services, serving destinations as diverse as Holyhead, Fishguard and Liverpool.
The bodies for Class 197 Civity trains were built in Beasain, northern Spain, by Spanish rolling stock manufacturer CAF before final assembly at the company’s plant in Llanwern, Newport.
James Price, Managing Director of Transport for Wales, said: “The Class 197s will be an important part of the transformation of the Wales and Borders network and we look forward to welcoming passengers to the new trains from next year.
“We are delighted with the quality of the trains and proud that final assembly took place in Newport, supporting highly skilled jobs and creating new jobs in the area.
These new trains will offer increased comfort with features such as leather seats (first class), stain resistant seats and an air conditioning / heating system.
Class 197 trains are also equipped with an intelligent seat reservation system. Seat reservations will be downloaded from the reservation computer each time the train crew change ends on the train.
The £ 30million CAF plant at Celtic Business Park near Llanwern Steelworks in Newport has grown from just 12 employees in 2016 to more than 200 today.