FIVE battery/diesel ex-London Underground sets rebuilt by Vivarail are set to enter service with the new KeolisAmey Welsh franchise next year.
The Class 230 D-Trains are reconstructed using the aluminium bodies of redundant District Line cars, and Vivarail has been named as preferred bidder. They will be the first to enter service as part of the new franchise. KeolisAmey will take over as train operator from Arriva in October.
Vivarail CEO Adrian Shooter said: “We know that KeolisAmey want to bring the best trains to their passengers so our interior layout has been designed to do exactly that. As well as the wide and spacious carriages the trains will have a Universal Access Toilet, WiFi, air conditioning, USB ports and three-pin sockets. There will be a range of seating layouts and plenty of space for bikes and luggage.
“With KeolisAmey we have been determined to give passengers the very best travelling experience and the trains they deserve: modern, comfortable, reliable and environmentally-friendly.
“In conjunction with our partners at Creactive we have worked on a livery design that will be seen across the whole fleet.
“Our aim has always been to provide innovative solutions for operators and to that end I’m delighted to announce that our trains will be built as battery/diesel hybrids to cut down on emissions and make use of the exciting new technology we have developed over the past two years. As the UK’s leading battery train manufacturer we know that emission-free trains are the future and we will continue to spearhead that development. With this hybrid fleet we will deliver a train that is clean, green and reliable making use of GPS systems to cut out the engines in stations and environmentally-sensitive areas.
“Our trains will come into service in summer 2019 and will form the flagship fleet for Wales and Borders and I look forward to taking the first journey in North Wales next year.
KeolisAmey Wales Cymru mobilisation director Colin Lea said: “We are proud to announce that KeolisAmey and Vivarail will provide a step-change in passenger comfort and service quality on three North Wales routes (Wrexham-Bidston, Conwy Valley, Chester-Crewe) by introducing these units, fitted with the latest passenger comfort appliances such as power supply at all seats, high-speed Wi-Fi, air-cooling, bike spaces, and a brand new seating layout reflecting the needs of the passengers.
“In addition, these innovative hybrid trains fitted with state of the art monitoring systems, will provide a significant change in performance and reliability, helping KeolisAmey to deliver a more reliable service.”
Design and build of the three-car trains is already underway at Vivarail’s two sites and orders have been placed with the leading supplier of Universal Access Toilets, which is based in Cwmbran. The fleet of five trains will move to Wales for final testing and commissioning in early 2019.