Thirty-five trains, destined for the South Wales Metro, have reached a significant milestone in their development.
The new Stadler FLIRT trains – 11 diesel and 24 tri-mode (capable of using diesel, overhead line and battery) models are now authorised for testing in mainland Europe. This crucial period, in Switzerland, Germany, Romania and the Czech Republic, will allow tests on performance against realistic driving conditions, as well as the relevant safety standards and regulations.
Following this, tested trains will start to be brought to Cardiff, Wales, from November. There, on the Wales & Borders network, they will undergo more testing on the routes they will serve.
The 35 FLIRTs, ordered by Transport for Wales, will run on South Wales Metro services to Maesteg, Ebbw Vale, Rhymney and Cheltenham.
The contract, signed in 2019, also includes 36 three-car Citylink tram-trains.
All the trains are longer, quieter, air-conditioned, with power sockets for each seat and passenger information screens. There will be level-boarding and room for six bicycles, as well as more seats than the existing fleet.
Stadler project manager Sandro Muster commented: “This stage in the production process, where trains undertake testing under real-life conditions, is a critical element of the project and one that allows us to iron out any glitches that may be experienced.
“We look forward to putting these trains through their paces, ahead of their journey to Wales, which will be their ultimate home.”
Rob Hale, head of rolling stock at Transport for Wales, added: “This is an important step in the production process and we look forward to getting feedback about how the new trains are performing under test conditions.
“Transport for Wales is investing heavily in new rolling stock to transform the Wales and Borders network and the FLIRTs will be faster, quieter and better for the environment than our current trains.”