Brand new trains that will transform and improve transport throughout Wales and the borders have been on show at Chester railway station.
Assembled by CAF at their factory in Newport, the first Class 197 train with its ‘Made in Wales’ tag was revealed to the public, offering a taste of what’s to come for customers in the next few months.
TfW are spending £800 million on new trains throughout their network and the Class 197 will be the first of the brand-new stock to enter service in North Wales before the end of this year. Providing an increase in capacity, reduced emissions and enhanced comfort onboard, these trains will allow TfW to run faster and more frequent services to key routes including to destinations such as Holyhead, Fishguard and Liverpool.
Offering leather seats, modern air conditioning systems, wider doors and customer information screens, the new trains will transform the customer experience. They’ve also been fitted with electronic charging points and disability features for those with limited mobility.
The Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for Transport, Lee Waters said: “I am pleased to welcome the new Class 197 trains to the rail network. These new vehicles represent a real transformational improvement on the trains that they will be replacing, providing comfortable and frequent services, encouraging people to leave their cars behind and move onto a more sustainable form of transport.”
Alexia Course, TfW’s Director of Transport Operations, said: “At Transport for Wales we’re continually moving forward with our transformational plans to improve public transport for the people of Wales and the borders.
“The Class 197s on show at Chester railway station today will be an important part of the transformation of the Wales and Borders network, and when they enter service, they will enable us to run more services and carry more customers in comfort. The construction of our new trains has been four years in the making, and customers and colleagues are incredibly excited to welcome passengers onto them from later this year.
“It’s also important to recognise that these trains have been made in Wales at the CAF factory in Newport and the building of them has provided jobs and supported the local economy”.
Richard Garner, UK Director CAF said: "CAF is thrilled that the first of our Class 197 trains for the Wales and Borders network has been officially launched. We are immensely proud of our key role in delivering Transport for Wales' vision to transform rail travel for passengers.
"The manufacture of our trains is taking place at our state-of-the-art facility in Newport, South Wales. We see ourselves as a local manufacturer, supporting highly skilled jobs and bringing employment opportunities to the local area whilst focusing on sustainability issues and addressing the needs of the Welsh economy.
“Our trains are being built in Wales to serve the Welsh communities”
The Class 197s will be operating on the following lines when in service:
- North Wales Coast (Holyhead-Manchester/Birmingham)
- Conwy Valley Line (Llandudno-Blaenau Ffestiniog)
- Borderlands Line (Wrexham-Bidston)
- Marches Line (Cardiff-Manchester/Liverpool)
- Cambrian Line (Birmingham-Aberystwyth/Pwllheli)
- Ebbw Vale Line (Ebbw Vale-Cardiff/Newport)
- Manchester-Milford Haven
- Swansea-Pembroke Dock