Wales’ first electric tram trains have been unveiled at the new £100m depot, which will become the home of the south Wales Metro. A part of the South Wales Metro project being delivered by Transport for Wales (TfW), the new light rail vehicles operate on both electric lines and battery power.
TfW said they will “revolutionise transport across the south Wales valleys’, travelling up to 100 km/h on rail and able to run on tram lines. At 40 metres long, they will hold up to 252 passengers.
TfW chief executive James Price has recently faced scrutiny, appearing before the Welsh Affairs Committee in Westminster, over the increasing cost of the Metro and the poor reliability of services. However, TfW said that the £100m depot at Taff’s Well in Rhondda Cynon Taff is progressing and will provide electrical controls and signalling for the network as well as a maintenance depot for the new tram trains.
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It added that 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 the Welsh Government, and aims to “enable faster, more frequent services between Cardiff and the heads of the valleys”.
The new £100 million Taff’s Well depot (Image: Transport for Wales)
The new trains will hold 252 passengers (Image: Transport for Wales)
Inside the new tram train (Image: Transport for Wales)
The new tram trains are being tested at the depot and on the valley lines (Image: Transport for Wales) 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. It’s a really exciting time for South Wales as this depot and these tram trains will revolutionise transport in the region.”
Chief commercial officer Alexia Course said: “Our Citylink Class 398 Tram Trains that have been manufactured by Stadler are now on test in South Wales and this signifies another step closer to delivering the South Wales Metro.
“We have ordered 36 of these 3 car tram trains and they are spacious and bright with multifunctional areas for bicycles, seats for people with reduced mobility and wheelchair passenger spaces. The light rail vehicles are designed to connect city centres with outlying areas and we’re excited to add them to our network in the coming months.”
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