UK: Testing has begun in Switzerland of the first of the Flirt multiple-units which Stadler is building for Transport for Wales, ahead of delivery for further testing on the Wales & Borders network and entry into passenger service from the end of 2022.
Stadler is supplying a total of 35 Flirt (Flinker Leichter Innovativer Regional Triebzug, Fast Light Inter-city & Regional Train) multiple-units for the South Wales Metro network under a contract awarded in 2018.
This includes seven three-car and 17 four-car Class 756 tri-mode 25 kV 50 Hz electric, diesel and battery units to operate on the Rhymney, Coryton and Vale of Glamorgan routes, and 11 four-car Class 231 diesel multiple-units to operate from Cardiff to Ebbw Vale, Maesteg and Cheltenham.
As with the bi-mode Class 755 Flirts supplied to Greater Anglia, the air-conditioned trainsets will feature level boarding to assist passengers with reduced mobility, prams and mobility scooters. The TfW trains will have space for up to six bicycles, power sockets at every seat, and wide real-time passenger information screens. They will be fitted with toilets, unlike the 36 ‘metro-style’ three-car Class 398 Citylink electric/battery units which Stadler is to supply to operate services from Cardiff to Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil.
ABB is supplying customised electrical equipment for various Stadler units, while Technotrans is providing customised cooling systems for the lithium-ion traction batteries.
The order is financed by Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, with the Flirt DMUs to be owned by Cambrian Rail Partnership No1 LLP and the trimode units by Valley Rail Partnership No1 LLP.
‘These brand-new trains with better facilities all round will provide a modern service for the people of Wales’, said Transport for Wales CEO James Price on July 26. ‘Our teams are pushing ahead building the South Wales Metro and we’re moving forward with the new trains that will provide a modern turn-up-and-go service that is greener for the environment.’
Meanwhile, testing is also underway with the first of the 51 two-car and 26 three-car Class 197 Civity diesel multiple-units which CAF is assembling in Newport for use on other Wales & Borders routes.