Stadler is Named Preferred Bidder to Supply 71 trains for Wales & Borders

Stadler CITYLINK tram-trains and FLIRT trains (Fast Light Intercity and Regional Train), are set to become a familiar sight on the Wales and Borders and South Wales Metro services, with 71 trains being introduced from 2022.

Stadler wins another major contract in the United Kingdom. Wales & Borders order 36 three-car CITYLINK tram-trains and 35 FLIRT trains from Stadler for a total of 71 trains.

Thirty-six CITYLINK three-car tram-trains will operate from Cardiff to Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr Tydfil. Relying on 25 kV as well as battery power, these trains will bring back on-street running to Cardiff for the first time in 70 years. 

The remaining 35 units will be of the FLIRT type, 11 of which will be diesel-operated and used on South Wales Metro services to Maesteg, Ebbw Vale and Cheltenham. The other 24 units will be tri-mode, capable of running on diesel, overhead electric wires and battery power. The tri-mode fleet consists of seven three-car and 17 four-car trains.

Coming on-stream in 2023, the 24 tri-mode trains will be used on routes linking the Vale of Glamorgan and destinations north of Cardiff. They will be powered by electricity to the north of Cardiff, and diesel to the south, providing a  cross-city connection.

The use of batteries on tram-trains and tri-modes is an innovative and cost-effective solution that will provide a fully electric, environmentally friendly service north of Cardiff by enabling “smart electrification” on the infrastructure.

“Smart electrification” will enable a fully electric service to be provided while minimising infrastructure costs and the need for costly modifications to 55 of the bridges along the routes, particularly north of Caerphilly.

The Stadler fleet will mean more new trains and a major improvement in passenger experience, assisting Transport for Wales’ work in delivering Welsh Government’s vision for transport in Wales.

Trains will be longer and have more seats, which have been ergonomically designed to maximise passenger comfort. Each seat will be fitted with power sockets. Other state-of-the-art features include air-conditioning throughout and wide passenger information screens, providing customers with up-to-the-minute travel information. Noise and vibrations will be kept to a minimum, with the new trains quieter than the current ones.

Other benefits include additional space for up to six bikes on each train and level boarding to assist with prams and mobility scooters.

Stadler already has a considerable presence in the UK. As well as our locomotives, there are 12 Variobahn trams in Croydon, delivered in 2012. Seven tram-trains have been in operation on the Sheffield Supertram network since last year. These tram-trains are very similar to those successfully forming the centre-piece of the public transport system in Chemnitz, Germany. In 2019, 58 new Stadler trains will be introduced on the Greater Anglia network, and 52 will enter service in the Liverpool City Region by 2020.

Ralf Warwel, sales director at Stadler Rail, commented: “Stadler is very proud to have been chosen to supply this unique and innovative fleet of rolling stock for the Wales and Borders franchise. The introduction of new rolling stock in South Wales will be appreciated by passengers not only because of the high levels of comfort but also thanks to the use of the latest battery power technology. This new technology, when rolled out nationwide, will bring the industry one step closer to being carbon neutral.”

Economy and transport secretary, Ken Skates said: “Through our £5bn investment in rail services we are introducing innovative, cost effective and environmentally friendly travel solutions that have the needs of our passengers right at their heart. Stadler’s tram trains will make up an exciting part of our new rail offer in South Wales  and I look forward to their introduction.”

James Price, chief executive, Transport for Wales, commented: “We’re at the beginning of an exciting new journey as we  transform our transport network and  deliver a new vision for transport, with the people and places of Wales at the heart of our mission. Stadler’s rolling stock will play a key role in in this transformation.”

Transport for Wales Rail Services is operated by Keolis Amey Wales Cymru. Colin Lea is mobilisation director. He concluded: “We would like to thank Stadler for working extremely hard with us to design trains which will enable the innovative South Wales Metro solution.

“This will transform the passenger experience and enable 100 per cent electric running on the valley lines north of Cardiff. This power will be sourced from renewable energy and 50 per cent of that from within Wales. These superb trains will help us cut journey times, provide far more capacity and will put Wales at the forefront of ‘smart electrification’ technologies.”