Progress on new trains for TfW


Picture by Anthony Roberts

There is some news in recent railway press about the new trains intended for our line. Modern Railways has some information this month and Railcolournews has an item

The good news is that CAF have outshopped the first two of the 197 sets in Newport and these are undergoing testing. It is reported that the first unit 197001 is in Crewe. There are 77 two and three car sets to build. Some of these are intended for the long distance services for our line. There  is to be a sub group of 14 three car sets with first class accommodation to work the Manchester – South Wales services. There is another sub group with different signalling equipment to work the Cambrian lines replacing the 158 sets.

It is reported that the new 197 sets will operate from Chester commencing in Spring 2022, and that the 175 sets will be some of the first to go. The Cambrian trains will operate from Machynlleth and will be after the Chester fleet.

All these sets are basically of the same type being delivered to Northern (195s) and West Midlands (196s). Hopefully these other fleets will sort out the early bugs.

In addition Sadler are delivering new 231 diesel sets for South Wales services. The introduction of the 231 is planned for the end of 2021. On a subsequent report we now see that the class 170 sets currently in use in South Wales are to go to East Midlands in 2021. This leaves a gap for us as they were promised for the HoW line and our shuttle. We shall see what they come up with now.

The news on the 153 sets is much as we have reported before. The intended PRM upgrades are nearing completion. We may see some unconverted units but they will always be operated with a compliant unit. In fact, we rarely see other than a single unit on our line. If you see a pair with different livery, this is the reason. They are planned to operate until the end of 2022.

On the 150 two and three car sets, they are PRM compliant, and it is reported that they will undergo a rebranding, with the first unit already complete. They don’t appear to be operating on our line very often. I have seen one on the HoW daily shuttle, but this is unusual. The 150s are planned to soldier on until the new trains are fully operational. It is reported that spares are hard to get now.

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