First Welsh hybrid train enters operation

Borderlands LineTransport for Wales (TfW) has deployed the first Class 230 battery-hybrid train on the Borderlands Line between Wrexham and Bidston.

“This is great news. Funded by our GBP 800 million [EUR 910.4 million] investment in a new fleet of trains, the Class 230s play an important part in our plans to transform rail services in Wales. These new trains will offer greater comfort, and modern facilities and with the new hybrid engines will be better for the environment,” Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for Transport, Lee Waters said.

With fully accessible toilets, power sockets, electronic passenger information system, Wi-Fi, bike racks and air conditioning, the trains are a significant milestone for TfW, as they continue to deliver on their plans to transform rail services throughout Wales and the borders.

TfW owns five 3-carriage Class 230 trains, which each having over 120 seats and with capacity for over 420 customers, a significant increase over previous trains. The metro-style trains, which were repurposed from former London Underground trains, provide a more efficient and environmentally friendly service using diesel and batteries.

The new trains are energy efficient as the use 25 per cent less fuel and are equipped with a regenerative braking system that captures energy back into the batteries.

The trains were ordered under the commitment to increase the capacity on the Borderlands Line and manufactured by Vivarail whose battery and hybrid train assets have been acquired by Great Western Railway (GWR).

“We’re delighted that the first Class 230 train has entered service. With hybrid engines and modern facilities, these trains will significantly improve the customer experience on the Borderlands Line by providing better facilities and increased capacity,”  Alexia Course, Transport for Wales’ Chief Commercial Officer, said.

The trains were chosen both specifically for this difficult route as they are able to cope with frequent station stops on a hilly line, whilst still shaving minutes off the previous diesel train service due to their superior acceleration.

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