Rolling stock

20.04.18

GWR to roll out 19 ‘tri-mode’ trains by 2019 under new deal

A new deal struck between Great Western Railway (GWR) and Porterbrook means 19 Class 769 Flex trains will be introduced on the operator’s network from spring next year, it has confirmed.

GWR said the innovative fleet – which operates as ‘tri-mode’ and can run on overhead and third-rail electric lines as well as under their own power – will be rolled out onto London and Thames Valley services to boost capacity.

This will release a similar number of Turbo trains to ease congestion in the Bristol area, a move which can potentially lead to new routes through the city.

Final details of exactly how and where the new fleet will be used are being drawn up and will be polished off later this year.

GWR managing director, Mark Hopwood, said: “We are already delivering the biggest fleet upgrade in a generation across the Great Western network, but today’s news shows we have not stopped looking at ways to improve our service for customers by adding extra capacity to our network.”

The 19 trains will initially support the introduction of upgraded trains on Heathrow Express services, but will mostly be used on routes between Reading and Gatwick, and Reading and Oxford.

GWR said this is where the train’s tri-mode power can be used to its fullest, but the tri-mode nature of the train will also give the operator “maximum flexibility to use them in other areas of the network should they be required.”

The fleet will operate in four-carriage formations set to be refurbished inside and out. Customers will be able to enjoy free wi-fi and power at every seat, air cooling, more luggage space and new seat covers.

The modern two-engine design will also offer a quieter and cleaner experience.

Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook, said: “I am delighted that GWR have agreed to add our innovative tri-mode trains to their fleet.

“These trains will offer GWR greater operational flexibility with reduced operating costs; at the same time their conversion and upgrade will see skilled engineering jobs secured in the UK supply chain.”

 

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