Latest Rail News


Five more Class 319 bi-modes expected in Wales next year

The Welsh government has this week announced that it will add five extra four-carriage trains to boost rolling stock provision and capacity in the country.

The Class 319 flex bi-mode trains have been funded with £1.9m investment from the Welsh government, supported by £1m of extra funding from Arriva Trains Wales. It will be added to existing rolling stock fleets in 2018.

The new trains mean capacity will be doubled on some of the busiest routes into Cardiff, with an additional 600 seats per day and 1,500 extra seats for the whole of Wales.

It will also allow Person of Reduced Mobility compliance work to be made to the current Class 150 and 158 stock, and will give opportunities to the new franchisee to deliver improvements in the upcoming Wales and Borders rail services contract.

“I’ve made no secret of the difficulty in adding good quality rolling stock in Wales and am delighted that, by working with Arriva Trains Wales and others, we’ve been able to secure these extra trains,” said economy and infrastructure secretary Ken Skates.

“The agreement to secure these trains is one part of a number of agreements with rail industry bodies that ensure that the majority of the current Wales and Borders fleet will comply with Persons of Restricted Mobility regulations by 1 January 2020. The extra trains will be available for the new franchisee to use until at least 2021. 

“I’ve been absolutely clear that the next franchise, the Welsh government’s first, must have the passenger at its heart. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to secure these trains and hope to see them play a part in boosting Wales’ rail service for years to come.”

And Simon Hughes, fleet director for Arriva Trains Wales added: “These additional trains will be a massive boost for our customers who have been calling for extra capacity for a long time. We are delighted to be investing alongside the Welsh government to secure this additional rolling stock within our current franchise period.

“We are proud and excited to welcome these trains into our fleet. The fact they will be more accessible, and delivered alongside improvements to some of our current fleet, means we can make the railway in Wales an increasingly viable means of transport for all.”

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here 


Mikeb   24/07/2017 at 20:27

Is the Welsh Valleys electrification scheme safe then? I appreciate that it comes under the auspices of the Welsh Assembly but knowing Grayling and his cohorts in Whitehall, they may still have the final word and out the window it will go.

King's Lynn   25/07/2017 at 09:30

"The cancellation of plans to electrify the Cardiff – Swansea main line does not affect the separate project to electrify the Cardiff Valleys network of local routes, the DfT has confirmed, with UK government funding still available for the project"...apparently. I would certainly hope that this would still be the case, as the network around Cardiff sorely needs investment. To cancel it would be a huge setback to the economy of the area.

Noam Bleicher   25/07/2017 at 12:17

If only there were some kind of pan-European body to support regions like South Wales with structural funding.

Henry Law   25/07/2017 at 12:49

What's the point of making 319 bi-mode? There is all the mass of the electric traction equipment being carried around uselessly on non-electrified routes. Why not just rebuild them with as much commonality to class 150 as possible, preferably so they can operate in multiple with them and all the other compatible DMUs? Or strip out all the traction equipment and use locomotives in push-pull mode?

King's Lynn   25/07/2017 at 13:24

@Noam: What, like an organisation that was recently kicked quite firmly in the teeth by them? Being from Swansea, I can't understand how the funding wasn't apparent, but there we go.

Huguenot   25/07/2017 at 15:48

So what routes are these 319 flexes going to operate on, then? With the wires not now due to reach Cardiff before 2019, there'll be a lot of wasted energy, as Henry Law says. Even after 2019, they'll only be able to use the Newport-Cardiff stretch. Even if electrification of the Valley Lines is still on, it's going to take years before a single extra km of catenary is put up. Diesel traction in bi-modes is much less powerful than when using electric power, as users of the Class 800s will soon find out.

John Grant   25/07/2017 at 17:12

@Henry: I don't imagine the pantograph weighs much. And they'll surely use electric transmission even in diesel mode. A more relevant issue is the weight of the diesel engine and fuel tank when under the wires.

Andrew Gwilt   25/07/2017 at 22:12

Good news for Wales to receive the Bi-Mode Class 769's. Could Southern use some of the Class 769's for Brighton-Ashford International service as Southern used to use the Class 319's between London Victoria-Brighton and Gatwick Airport/Three Bridges and between Brighton/East Croydon and Milton Keynes Central. London Midland already has got 7 Class 319's on London Euston-Northampton, Milton Keynes and Rugby service and Watford Junction-St. Albans Abbey service. s 7 Class 321's where transferred to Scotrail.

Simon Eames1990   25/07/2017 at 22:38

The scrapping of electrification is disappointing but bi-modal 319s should privide service improvements. As I occasionally use Thameslink the 319s are decent units. The passengers of wales deserve far better services than riding sluggish diesels and those rotten pacers.

Andrew JG   26/07/2017 at 07:45

Bi-Mode "Hybrid" (EDMU) multiple units will be classified in the Class 7xx and/or Class 8xx category if more Bi-Mode trains are to be built & manufactured. Hitachi are currently building and manufacturing the Class 800's and Class 801's IET's for Great Western Railway and Virgin Trains East Coast and the Class 802's IET's for First Hull Trains and First Transpennine Express. With some doing test runs. Stadler are to manufacture the Class 755's Bi-Mode Flirt units for (Abellio) Greater Anglia to operate between London Liverpool Street-Lowestoft and local-regional branch lines in East Anglia and the Marks Tey-Sudbury line in Essex. And to operate on Norwich-Stansted Airport service once the Bi-Mode Flirts are in service in 2019/2020 along with Class 745's EMU's (also to be manufactured by Stadler) and Bombardier's Class 720's Aventra EMU's to operate on London-Norwich Intercity, West Anglia, Great Eastern and Stansted Express (Liverpool Street/Stratford-Stansted Airport) services.

Jerry Alderson   26/07/2017 at 18:23

Re : "Bi-Mode "Hybrid" (EDMU) multiple units..." Be careful. It is only a hybrid if it uses two sources of power AT THE SAME TIME. The vast majority of the bi-modes being produced do not and never will. Essentially there is little point in running a diesel engine to provide traction while the train is taking current for the overhead wires or third rail since the latter should be able to provide 100% of the power needed (unless there is a limited power supply). Hybrids (whether train, car etc., though not bicycles) generally involve liquid fuel (e.g. diesel) and batteries.

Pdeaves   27/07/2017 at 14:40

John Grant: "I don't imagine the pantograph weighs much." That is true, but do not underestimate the weight of a transformer. That is a comparable load when running under diesel power to the load of a diesel engine when running under electric power.

Matthew Read   02/08/2017 at 19:13

I think the very first line in Wales to have its wires go live is Cardiff to Cheltenham via Chepstow which is in December 2018 and that will be 319 operated. Wonder if they'll run as far as Fishguard or Milford Haven?

Railfan1234   28/11/2017 at 21:57

I think that the Cheltenham-Maesteg route is severely overcrowded because I get on the 1618 train from Cardiff, it is usually a two-coach 150 and they are literally denying people boarding. If anyone else has this problem I would recommend waiting 20 minutes for the 1637 to Bridgend, calling at Pontyclun and Pencoed

Add your comment

Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >