UK: The Welsh Government is to provide £1·9m and operator Arriva Trains Wales £1m to lease five Class 319 Flex electro-diesel multiple-units for use on the Wales & Borders franchise from 2018 until at least 2021.
First announced by Porterbrook Leasing and Northern franchise operator Arriva in December 2016, the Class 319 Flex concept is based on fitting diesel alternator powerpacks to the driving cars of four-car dual-system EMUs made surplus by the delivery of Siemens Class 700 EMUs for the Thameslink route.
The five units for the Wales & Borders franchise have not been allocated to specific routes, but will allow Class 150 and 158 DMUs to be taken out of service to be modified to comply with Persons of Reduced Mobility requirements. They would also provide opportunities for the next Wales & Borders franchisee to increase overall capacity.
'I have made no secret of the difficulty in adding good quality rolling stock in Wales and am delighted that, by working with Arriva Trains Wales and others, we’ve been able to secure these extra trains’, said Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Ken Skates. ‘The agreement to secure these trains is one part of a number of agreements with rail industry bodies that ensure that the majority of the current Wales & Borders fleet will comply with Persons of Reduced Mobility regulations by January 1 2020.'