Friday 22 June 2018
CAF to Build New Wales & Borders Trains
Following the Vivarail announcement that it will be providing five Class 320s for the new Wales and Borders franchise, CAF has now revealed that it is in final negotiations with operator KeolisAmey to supply and maintain a major fleet of new trains.
The Spanish firm – which is already supplying trains for Northern, TransPennine Express and West Midlands Trains – has been selected as the referred bidder by the franchise’s next operator.
It will build 44 two-car and 26 three-car units, which will be in service by September 2022, and a further seven two-car units to be delivered in September 2024.
The trains, all DMUs, are based on the Civity platform designed for commuter and regional services. They will feature “the latest safety technology combined with exacting interior design specifications for customer comfort,” including wi-fi and air conditioning.
As part of KeolisAmey’s commitment to ensure at least half of all new trains are assembled in Wales, the CAF fleet will be built at its new facility in Newport, South Wales, which is schedule for completion this autumn. The manufacturer is investing £30m to get the factory up and running – including grant support from the Welsh Government – and plans to create 300 new jobs as part of the scheme.
Colin Lea, mobilisation director at KeolisAmey Wales Cymru, said CAF worked collaboratively with the operator to design trains which “put the passenger needs at their heart.”
He guaranteed state-of-the-art “passenger features,” ample legroom, and seats aligned with windows to take advantage of the “wonderful scenery” in the routes they will serve.
“These new trains, which will set a new standard of travel comfort and accessibility for the next decade, will be made for Wales and by Wales as they will be assembled in a new CAF factory in Newport, creating hundreds of new jobs,” added Lea.
Richard Garner, CAF’s UK director, said the company was delighted to have been selected as the preferred bidder. “We look forward to working with KeolisAmey and playing our part in delivering its commitment to transform the railway and support the growth of the local economy in Newport and Wales,” he continued.
“Our high-quality, reliable and comfortable trains will enhance customer experience across this important rail network."
Economy secretary Ken States also welcomed the good news, promising that the new DMUs will ensure that the vast majority of new trains running on the network will “genuinely be ‘Made in Wales’ with economic benefits of their production being retained and enjoyed locally.”