Economy and Infrastructure Secretary Ken Skates has today announced the addition of 5 extra 4-carriage trains to boost and improve rolling stock available in Wales.
The class 319 flex bi-mode trains have been funded by Welsh Government with £1m of support from Arriva Trains Wales, and will be added to existing rolling stock in 2018.
Their introduction will allow for Persons of Reduced Mobility compliance works to be made to the existing class 150 and 158 stock and will provide options for increasing capacity on busy routes. The extra trains will also provide opportunities for the new franchisee to deliver improvements early in the new Wales and Borders rail services contract.
Economy and Infrastructure Secretary Ken Skates said:
“I’ve made no secret of the difficulty in adding good quality rolling stock in Wales and am delighted that, by working with Arriva Trains Wales and others, we’ve been able to secure these extra trains.
“The agreement to secure these trains is one part of a number of agreements with rail industry bodies that ensure that the majority of the current Wales and Borders fleet will comply with Persons of Restricted Mobility regulations by 1 January 2020. The extra trains will be available for the new franchisee to use until at least 2021.
“I’ve been absolutely clear that the next franchise, the Welsh Government’s first, must have the passenger at its heart. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to secure these trains and hope to see them play a part in bosting Wales’ rail service for years to come."
The trains are being leased following an initial £1.9 million investment by Welsh Government and £1 million from Arriva Trains Wales.
Simon Hughes, Fleet Director for Arriva Trains Wales said;
"These additional trains will be a massive boost for our customers who have been calling for extra capacity for a long time. We are delighted to be investing alongside the Welsh Government to secure this additional rolling stock within our current franchise period.
"Customers on our Valleys network are already seeing the benefit of our May 2017 timetable enhancement. Making the most of our limited number of trains, we were able to deliver 600 extra seats on the busiest commuter trains serving Cardiff following major infrastructure investment by our partners in Network Rail.
“We are proud and excited to welcome these trains into our fleet. The fact they will be more accessible, and delivered alongside improvements to some of our current fleet, means we can make the railway in Wales an increasingly viable means of transport for all."
The announcement is the second piece of positive news for the rail industry in Wales, following last week’s announcement that Welsh Government has supported over £30m in investment creating 300 jobs in train manufacturing at CAF’s new factory in Newport.