The first of South Western Railway’s new Class 701 trains has arrived at its Wimbledon depot from manufacturer Bombardier Transportation.
The 10-car ‘Train 6’ will be stabled at the depot over the coming weeks to become the focus of training programmes and dynamic testing, ensuring the entire fleet is passenger-ready ahead of its introduction later this year.
This is the second of SWR’s new Class 701 trains to appear on the network, but the first to be based at SWR’s Wimbledon depot. In early June, Bombardier took a train out to conducted its own signal testing between Fareham and Weymouth.
Train 6 will allow drivers, maintenance and other depot staff to begin their training and develop new skills in preparation for the next generation of trains. Wimbledon depot will eventually become the new maintenance home for the entire Class 701 fleet.
SWR’s Class 701 fleet consists of 90 new trains and, over a two-year period, will replace all of the current fleet operating on the suburban network – Classes 455, 456, 458 and 707. This represents an investment of £1 billion in modern, quicker and reliable services for passengers. Aided by the latest technology, the fleet will help more passengers arrive on time in the morning and evening peak periods on one of Europe’s busiest rail networks.
Neil Drury, SWR’s engineering director, said: “We’re delighted Wimbledon depot has received its first Class 701 train. There will be many significant developments in this programme – this is one of them.
“Train 6 allows us to prepare our drivers, maintenance staff and other colleagues for a generational step-change in service performance, and ensure that the important components which define the experience of travelling on these new trains are ready before the fleet’s eventual introduction.”
The train is also a significant part of SWR’s programme for real-world network testing on passenger routes, which is taking place from August. Modern onboard features allowing passengers to stay connected and travel comfortably – including air conditioning, Wi-Fi, at-seat charging points, travel information systems and fully accessible toilets – as well as technology which significantly boosts reliability and performance for passengers travelling every day on the network, will all be put through their paces.