UK: A test bodyshell for the Class 345 electric multiple-units ordered for London’s Crossrail project has been assembled at Bombardier Transportation’s Derby plant, where it is being used to refine the design and manufacturing techniques ahead of full production of the 594 cars for 66 nine-car trainsets.

'This assembled body shell, which has progressed rapidly from a blank piece of paper through to build and test, is the first off the production line for the Crossrail project’, said Bombardier's Project Director Joe Bednall. ‘It will first go to be tested, to validate the bodyshell design, before being painted and re-assembled to form the client's cab and saloon mock up. The on-time completion of this new lightweight body shell design marks an important milestone in the ongoing successful delivery of the Crossrail project.'

TfL and Bombardier are working with designers Barber & Osgerby on the styling of the EMUs, which is to be unveiled later this year.

Part of Bombardier’s Aventra family, the 25 kV 50 Hz EMUs will be more than 200 m long, with wide interconnecting gangways and capacity for up to 1 500 passengers. There will be three double doors per car side to facilitate rapid boarding and alighting at the busy central London stations.

The new EMUs are scheduled to enter service on the existing lines between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield from May 2017, with the Crossrail tunnels through central London opening in December 2018 and the full service from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east starting in December 2019.

Bombardier beat bids from Hitachi and CAF to win the £1bn, 32-year Crossrail rolling stock supply and maintenance contract in February 2014. According to Transport for London, the manufacture and delivery of the trains and depot is supporting 760 UK manufacturing jobs and 80 apprenticeships.