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TfW's Class 197 Launched

posted on 27th Jan 2023 13:36

On 26 January 2023 the first of Transport for Wales’ brand new 800 million GBP fleet of trains was officially launched by Lesley Griffiths MS at a ceremony in North Wales.

Built in Wales by CAF in Newport, the 77 new Class 197 DMUs will become the backbone of TfW’s services across the length and breadth of the Wales and Borders network in the coming years. Offering Eleather seats (a sustainable alternative to traditional leather), modern air conditioning systems, wider doors and customer information screens, the brand-new trains will play a key role in TfW’s plans to transform the customer experience on its services.

The new trains entered into passenger service on the Conwy Valley line at the end of 2022 and were unveiled at a ceremony at Llandudno station on 26 January 2023. James Price, Transport for Wales CEO, said: “The official launch of the Class 197s is a landmark day in the history of Transport for Wales and the Welsh rail industry, with the unveiling of the first brand new trains in Wales in a generation. Providing an increase in capacity and enhanced comfort onboard, the new trains will allow TfW to run faster and more frequent services to destinations such as Holyhead, Fishguard and Liverpool."

The Class 197s will sit alongside the 71 brand new trains and tram-trains being built for the South Wales Metro, the first of which has recently entered into passenger service. A total of 148 brand new trains will deliver faster, more frequent and greener services.

Network Rail has been working with Transport for Wales to carry out upgrades to the railway so the new trains can operate. This includes gauge clearance, whereby the tracks are altered to ensure the, often wider, new fleet can safely pass through old Victorian bridges, platforms and tunnels. At some stations, Network Rail engineers have raised platforms, to reduce the stepping distance between the train and platform, and new stop car markers - a type of stop sign for trains - have been installed at some platforms to help drivers stop in the correct position.

The Class 197s will be operating on the following lines when in service:
- North Wales Coast (Holyhead-Manchester/Birmingham)
- Cardiff-Holyhead
- Conwy Valley Line (Llandudno-Blaenau Ffestiniog)
- Borderlands Line (Wrexham-Bidston)
- Chester-Liverpool
- Marches Line (Cardiff-Manchester/Liverpool)
- Cambrian Line (Birmingham-Aberystwyth/Pwllheli)
- Ebbw Vale Line (Ebbw Vale-Cardiff/Newport)
- Maesteg-Cheltenham
- Manchester-Milford Haven
- Cardiff-Fishguard
- Swansea-Pembroke Dock

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