The new rail franchise in Wales, Wales & Borders, has awarded Stadler Rail with the contract to supply trains and trams in the country from 2022. The deal, which follows a commitment made in June by Transport for Wales to invest £800 million in new rolling stock, will see 36, three-car Citylink tram-trains and 35 Fast Light Intercity and Regional Trains (FLIRT) delivered. Linking Cardiff and Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil, the Citylink trains will be powered by 25 kV as well as battery power and when they enter operation will return the city-centre, on-street transport to Cardiff for the first time in 70 years.
Under the terms of the deal, around a third of the FLIRT units (11) will be diesel-operated and used on South Wales Metro services, while the remaining trains will be capable of running on diesel, overhead electric wires and battery power. Stadler said the use of the tri-mode trains would provide a “fully electric, environmentally-friendly service north of Cardiff by enabling ‘smart electrification’ on the infrastructure” that would reduce the need for costly modifications to 55 bridges along the route.
The Welch economy and transport secretary, Ken Skates said: “Through our £5 billion investment in rail services we are introducing innovative, cost effective and environmentally friendly travel solutions that have the needs of our passengers right at their heart. Stadler’s tram trains will make up an exciting part of our new rail offer in South Wales and I look forward to their introduction.”
Stadler said that the Wales deal, which was sealed ahead of the delivery of 58 trains to the city of Liverpool, would be appreciated by passengers thanks to the use of the latest battery power technology, which will bring the industry “one step closer to being carbon neutral”.
Colin Lea, mobilisation director for Keolis Amey Wales Cymru, the operator that will run the Transport for Wales network, said the new trains will “transform the passenger experience” and allow for 100% electric operation north of Wales capital. “This power will be sourced from renewable energy and 50 per cent of that from within Wales. These trains will help us cut journey times, provide far more capacity and will put Wales at the forefront of ‘smart electrification’ technologies.”
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