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Wales’ first tram-trains unveiled

updated on 18th Sep 2023 09:18 posted on 5th Aug 2023 18:06

On 31 July 2023 the Class 398 tram-trains that will revolutionise transport across the South Wales valleys have been unveiled at their new 100 million GBP depot at Taff’s Well. As part of the South Wales Metro project being delivered by Transport for Wales, the 36 three-car light rail vehicles are the first to be introduced in Wales, operating on both electrified lines and battery power. Travelling up to 100 km/h on railway they will also be able to run on tram lines and at 40 m long will hold up to 252 passengers.

At present, 12 of 36 units are in the UK: five at the Rail Innovation & Development Centre at Melton Mowbray, and seven at TfW's new depot being built for the tram-trains at Taff’s Well, just outside Cardiff.

The new Taff’s Well depot is progressing and will become the home of the South Wales Metro providing electrical controls and signalling for the network as well as a maintenance depot for the new tram trains. The control centre is now operational and providing signalling for trains on the Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr railway lines. The transformation of the Core Valley Lines for the Metro has been part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through Welsh Government, and will enable faster, more frequent services between Cardiff and the heads of the valleys.  

Karl Gilmore, Rail Infrastructure Director at TfW said: “We’re making huge progress at our depot at Taff’s Well and everything is now becoming very visual. The maintenance depot and control centre buildings are both erected and can be clearly seen and the railway tracks connecting the depot to the mainline have been laid. Our new tram-trains are here and are currently being tested at the depot and on our valley lines. We’ve already electrified our first phase of lines in the valleys and will continue to do so over the coming months. 

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