Refurbed London Underground trains for Wrexham to Bidston service + Keolis UK to move HQ to Wales
Stratford-upon-Avon based Vivarail has been chosen as the preferred bidder to supply a fleet of Class 230 D-Trains to KeolisAmey for the Wales and Borders franchise.
The ‘new’ class 230 trains will be converted from retired London Underground D78 stock, some nearly 40 years old.
One rail insider told us about the D78 tube trains: “Although the trains are nearly 40 years old, they have been maintained to a very high standard by London Underground, have corrosion resistant aluminium bodies, and were extensively rebuilt 10 years ago with brand new bogies and other mechanical equipment.”
“The trains were originally London Underground D-Stock, built for the District Line in 1980-84. They were rebuilt in 2008 including the fitting of new bogies and traction gear.”
The hybrid trains will have both battery power plants and supplementary diesel engines as a fail-safe and will be the first to come into service as part of the new franchise.
Adrian Shooter, CEO of Vivarail, said
“This is a very exciting day for us and we are proud to be supplying the first of the new trains for Wales.
We know that KeolisAmey want to bring the best new trains to their passengers so our interior layout has been designed to do exactly that.
As well as the wide and spacious carriages the trains will have a Universal Access Toilet, WiFi, air conditioning, USB ports and 3-pin sockets.
There will be a range of seating layouts and plenty of space for bikes and luggage.
With KeolisAmey we have been determined to give passengers the very best travelling experience and the trains they deserve: modern, comfortable, reliable and environmentally-friendly.
I’m delighted to announce that our trains will be built as battery/diesel hybrids to cut down on emissions and make use of the exciting new technology we have developed over the past two years.
As the UK’s leading battery train manufacturer we know that emission-free trains are the future and we will continue to spearhead that development.
With this hybrid fleet we will deliver a train that is clean, green and reliable making use of GPS systems to cut out the engines in stations and environmentally-sensitive areas.
Our trains will come into service in summer 2019 and will form the flagship fleet for Wales and Borders and I look forward to taking the first journey in North Wales next year.”
Colin Lea, Mobilisation Director, KeolisAmey Wales Cymru, said:
“We are proud to announce that KeolisAmey and Vivarail will provide a step-change in passenger comfort and service quality on three North Wales routes (Wrexham-Bidston, Conwy Valley, Chester-Crewe) by introducing these units, fitted with the latest passenger comfort appliances such as power supply at all seats, high-speed Wi-Fi, air-cooling, bike spaces, and a brand new seating layout reflecting the needs of the passengers on these routes.
“In addition, these innovative hybrid trains fitted with state of the art monitoring systems, will provide a significant change in performance and reliability, helping KeolisAmey to deliver a more reliable service for its customers.”
Design and build of the 3-car trains is already underway at Vivarail’s two sites and orders have been placed with the leading supplier of Universal Access Toilets based in Cwmbran.
The fleet of 5 trains will move to Wales for final testing and commissioning in early 2019.
Following award of the contract for the Wales and Borders rail service and South Wales Metro to KeollisAmey, Keolis UK has also announced it will move its headquarters from London to a new office in Wales by 2019, and will relocate its global rail division from Paris to Wales by 2020, with the creation of around 130 ‘high quality’ jobs.
Meanwhile Amey will open a new design hub in Wales where it will offer consultancy services and further jobs will be created when the companies open a shared services and customer contact centre providing services to both businesses.
These jobs are in addition to the 600 jobs and the 30 apprenticeships a year announced earlier this week.
Economy Secretary Ken Skates said of this news: “In line with our Economic Contract, public investment with a social purpose is right at the heart of our new approach to rail, and I am delighted the new rail contract will be delivering tangible and significant economic benefits for Wales.
“The decision by internationally recognised companies Keolis and Amey to between them locate two headquarters and two new offices to Wales is a real coup, and a move that we predict will provide a significant economic boost, beginning with the creation of a further 130 high quality jobs. These are in addition to the 600 jobs announced earlier in the week.
“KeolisAmey has also committed to becoming a Living Wage employer by 2021 and they will ensure that the Real Living Wage is cascaded throughout the significant supply chain
“On top of news earlier this week that the majority of the new trains will be assembled in Newport by Spanish company, CAF, who will be bringing their new manufacturing base to Wales, there is no doubt that the new rail contract will deliver not only improved train services but also very real economic benefits for Wales.”
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