Rail passengers on the Wales and Borders network will start to notice improvements to their journeys following a £15 million investment by Transport for Wales (TfW).
The first two of nine four-car Class 769 trains, which offer greater capacity, more room and better accessibility, are now in service, with the rest to follow over the course of 2021.
New to Wales, the ‘Flex’ trains are owned by leasing company Porterbrook. They are updated and upgraded Class 319 all-electric trains that have had diesel engines fitted by the Brush factory of rolling-stock overhauler Wabtec. This gives them a new lease of life, as the trains can still be electrically powered or can now run on diesel power where there is no electrical supply.
Initially, they will be used from Cardiff Central to Rhymney, stopping at number of towns along the route including Caerphilly, Ystrad Mynach and Bargoed. Their routes will be extended to Penarth later in the year, once further trains are in place.
TfW is also carrying out major refurbishment work on its fleet of Class 150 Sprinter trains, which run throughout the Wales and Borders network. The interiors of all thirty-six of the two-car trains will be fully refurbished and modernised, seats will be re-covered and new signage will be installed for priority seats and wheelchair and bicycle spaces. The trains will also be given new TfW livery on the exterior.
Ken Skates, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, said: “Improving the quality of our trains was a big motivation behind the investment in our rail network we’ve made through Transport for Wales.
“Helping more people use public transport not only requires convenient and reliable services, but also high-quality trains and stations that makes the rail network more attractive to use. It’s therefore really good news to see this progress being made.”