Stadler wins contract to build 71 trains for Wales
Swiss rolling stock manufacturer Stadler is going to supply Wales & Borders franchise and South Wales Metro service with 36 CityLink tram-trains and 35 Flirt multiple units. They are set to be introduced starting from 2022.
Thirty-six CityLink three-car tram-trains will operate from Cardiff to Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil, running on both 25kV and battery power. These trains will bring back on-street running to Cardiff for the first time in 70 years. The remaining 35 units will be of the Flirt type, 11 of which will be diesel-operated and used on South Wales Metro services.
The other 24 units will be tri-mode, capable of running on diesel, overhead electric wires and battery power. Coming on-stream in 2023, the 24 tri-mode trains will be powered by electricity to the north of Cardiff, and diesel to the south. The use of batteries on tram-trains and tri-modes will provide a fully electric, environmentally friendly service north of Cardiff.
The new trains will be longer and have more seats. Each seat will be fitted with power sockets. The trains have air-conditioning throughout and wide passengers information screens. According to Stadler, the new trains are quieter than the current ones, as noise and vibrations will be kept to a minimum. Each train has space for up to six bikes and level boarding to assist with prams and mobility scooters.
Transport for Wales Rail Services is operated by Keolis Amey Wales Cymru. Colin Lea is mobilisation director. He said: “This will transform the passenger experience and enable 100 per cent electric running on the valley lines north of Cardiff. This power will be sourced from renewable energy and 50 per cent of that from within Wales. These superb trains will help us cut journey times, provide far more capacity and will put Wales at the forefront of ‘smart electrification’ technologies.”
Ralf Warwel, sales director at Stadler Rail, commented: “The introduction of new rolling stock in South Wales will be appreciated by passengers not only because of the high levels of comfort but also thanks to the use of the latest battery power technology. This new technology, when rolled out nationwide, will bring the industry one step closer to being carbon neutral.”