Thursday, 6 July 2023

First of £1bn Arterio Trains Set To Be Four Years Late

The fleet of Class 701 high-capacity Arterio trains will not now enter service until the end of 2023. They were initially due to run from December 2019 on South Western Railway (SWR) routes to Reading and Windsor in Berkshire. 

Ordered in 2017, the trains were due to enter service in mid-2019, however several delays have prevented this, with passenger service currently planned for late 2023.

As of December 2022, 24 units had been accepted by SWR. They will eventually allow the withdrawal of SWR's fleets of Class 455 and 707 units, and the cascade of the Class 458 fleet to longer-distance services.

The train drivers' union ASLEF previously reported problems with door obstacle detectors, as well as the coupling process, faulty windscreen wipers and cab doors that were difficult to open.

A major issue has been the rejection of the original cab seat position and layout by ASLEF reps meaning that this area had to be redesigned and the trains retrofitted before any driver familiarisation could start. Serious issues with the trains' software has also delayed introduction.

Built by Bombardier in Derby, the 750 carriage Arterio fleet is constructed using strong, but lightweight materials such as aluminium for the body shell.

More technologically advanced than the older trains they’re replacing, the modern trains are designed and operated to improve performance for hundreds of thousands of customers using suburban routes. 
The 90 strong-fleet strong of trains can carry more passengers, accelerate and brake more quickly to reduce the journey times between destinations, whilst larger, driver operated doors can allow more customers to board and alight to reduce dwell station times.

The trains are more sustainable than the current fleet serving the suburban network as regenerative braking means up to 30 per cent less energy is used as electricity is sent back into the conductor rail during braking.