New trains set to come into service on Wrexham to Bidston line in December
A new generation of train is set to come into service on the Wrexham to Bidston line in December, Transport for Wales (TfW) has confirmed.
TfW has five of the new Class 230 D-Trains – which use the bogies and aluminium bodyshells of withdrawn London Underground trains – on order from Stratford upon-Avon based Vivarail.
The new trains were expected to be operational by mid 2019 but one rail insider told Deeside.com there’s been some ‘slippage’ with the TfW Class 230 programme and the launch date is now December.
The trains are currently completing a series of reliability checks prior to them being delivered to TfW.
The new trains have been converted from retired London Underground D78 stock, they will form part of the £5 billion investment being made by TfW across Wales.
A spokesperson for TfW said:
“Our rolling stock colleagues are working together with industry partners to bring the Class 230 units in to service as quickly as possible.
This is a really exciting project that will see the introduction of more modern trains that exceed our initial design specification with high back seats that offer additional comfort and safety along with fully accessible toilets, power sockets, electronic passenger information, Wi-Fi, bike racks and air conditioning.
They are also much more environmentally friendly thanks to their regenerative braking system that captures energy back into the batteries. These trains will look and feel brand new.
We are currently completing a programme of reliability checks and our intention is that the first units come into service in December.”
Each train will have 3 carriages containing 125 seats with a total capacity of 293, they will operate between Wrexham and Bidston calling at all Flintshire stations in between, including Shotton, Hawarden and Buckley.
It’s hoped the new trains will bring an end to the travel chaos endured by commuters using the service during the autumn and winter months.
Last year trains on the Wrexham to Bidston line were cancelled for a number of consecutive days due to damaged wheels.
Commuters were forced to use buses which took up to double the length of time to reach destinations.
A combination of severe weather conditions at the start of the autumn last year and an aging train fleet inherited from previous operator Arriva Trains Wales meant that an “unprecedented number” of trains had to be removed from service for urgent repairs.
36 of the 127 trains in the TfW fleet were taken out of service which led to significant disruption
On the back of that disruption TfW said wheel slip protection (WSP) on all Class 150 units – those which currently service the Wrexham to Bidston line – would be completed before Autumn 2019.
Deeside.com understands that work to fit WSP on all class 150 units has not been completed as yet.
TfW said: “We know that last year was particularly difficult for our customers due to significant shortages of trains because of weather related damage.
“We are investing significantly in Wheel Slide Protection for our 36 Class 150 trains.
This is much like ABS on a car. These trains were the worst affected last year in terms of wheel damage, and with 134 trains in our current fleet they make up 1/4 of all our rolling stock.
WSP is fitted on some of our other types of train (158s, 175s and the LHCS) and trains are also being fitted with auto sanders to provide better traction for travelling up or down hills.”
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