New trains for North Wales routes have rolled off the production line – trials are set to take place in the area.
The transformation of the Wales and Borders network has taken another step forward with the first of the all-new Class 197 trains.
Tests have started on the first two of 77 new trains – in North Wales and North England – and they are expected to start entering service from next year.
They will operate on the North Wales Main Line and Conwy Valley Line services, as well as services to North West England and Cardiff.
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.
Lee Waters, Deputy Minister of Climate Change, said: “As we recover from the pandemic and work for a greener future, we must do all we can to encourage more people to get back on the train.
“Seeing these new trains roll off the production line is a positive sign of improving the quality of train travel in Wales.”
James Price, Managing Director of Transport for Wales, said: “It is an exciting step to have Transport for Wales build the first brand new trains out of the production line and under test.
“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 provide increased comfort to TfW customers with features such as leather seats (first class), stain resistant seats and a modern 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 crew change ends on the train.
Richard Garner, UK Director of CAF, said: “CAF is proud to play a key role in fulfilling Transport for Wales’ commitment to transform rail transport. Our ‘Made in Wales’ trains put the needs of passengers first and will ensure high quality, reliable and comfortable travel on the Welsh rail network. “
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.
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