UK: Great Western Railway has taken delivery of the first of 19 Class 769 Flex multiple-units equipped to operate using 750 V DC third rail, 25 kV 50 Hz overhead or diesel power.
The Class 769 has been developed from Class 319 dual-system EMUs formerly used on Thameslink services through London. The four-car sets owned by leasing company Porterbook have been refurbished, and fitted with free wi-fi, at-seat power sockets, air cooling, bigger luggage racks and new seat covers as well as two MAN D2876 Stage IIIB compliant diesel engines.
The first unit has now been delivered to the operator’s Reading depot for staff training and testing ahead of the fleet’s entry into service on the partly-electrified route between Reading and Gatwick Airport which is now expected by early 2021.
They will also be used on the non-electrified Henley and Marlow branches and the line between Reading and Basingstoke. This will release some of GWR’s existing Turbo diesel multiple-units for redeployment to add capacity in the Bristol area.