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There has never been a ‘better designed’ train than Crossrail

There has never been a train “better prepared or better designed” in the UK than the Crossrail train, London Underground’s managing director Mark Wild told RTM at a visit to Bombardier’s testing facility in Derby.

Speaking to RTM after the first Crossrail train, Class 345, was unveiled and taken for a ride across the Bombardier test track for the first time, Wild sang the many praises of the state-of-the-art vehicle, calling it a “world-class train” for passengers.

“It’s a sensational train. I’m so pleased to see it – it’s so exciting,” he said. “I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with other train procurements in my career and this is definitely the best. This will be a big success – obviously it has to be tested thoroughly, but it is already looks great.”

Three trains were present at the Bombardier facility, two of which were parked and open to TfL guests and the press in order to showcase the different interior configurations of the carriages. In total, 1,500 people will be able to board the train, with 450 sitting down.

“That’s pretty typical of high-intensity metro operations around the world,” Wild said after being asked if there were too few seats in favour of more standing space. “It’s what our customers want.

“The layout of the seats is also different per different carriage, so where people will crowd there’s more space, and at the end of the trains, where people might not be crowding on, there’s more seats. So a lot of thought has gone into the ergonomics of this train.

“But generally, the average journey on this train will be 15 minutes – so what people want is to be safe, comfortable, and air conditioned, but they really want to get on. Capacity is one of the big drivers – but 450 seats if a really good ratio.”

Asked by RTM if he will be implementing any lessons learned from the Crossrail rolling stock procurement in Crossrail 2, Wild said he had really loved the way the train was being tested by Bombardier and the TfL team.

“We’re doing a lot of the testing, the integration testing, away from the railway,” he explained. “So that’s a big breakthrough; that means we don’t have to disturb our existing railway to test it, which means suspensions and line occupations.

“Here what’s really impressive is the integration testing is happening in a lab, so when systems all come together, we’ve really de-risked the testing of this train.”

Wild added another lesson is to “really think” about the ergonomics of the Crossrail 2 layout in order to make it a “sensational experience” for passengers.

“So those two things, really: the technical integration is very clever, very smart, and it’ll pay off in certainty; but the train itself is just really sensational for customers. Crossrail 2 is in the early stages of development, but this sets the benchmark – this sets the bar high.”

Wild added that there aren’t yet any changes he would make to the Crossrail 2 procurement process based on lessons from Crossrail, but noted this could change as the train goes into service from next year.

“One thing we do pretty well is look at what our customers think, and we’re perpetually asking our customers, so there will be learnings when you actually get customers on it,” he added.

“I’ve never seen a train better prepared and better designed – but you never know.”

The 66-train Crossrail fleet will operate on the TfL-run line serving the West End, City and Docklands in the capital, running from Reading and Heathrow in the west across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. This includes building new track and new stations to accommodate the longer train, which can run in seven-car to nine-car formations.

The first trains will initially be seven-cars, or 160m long, to fit existing platforms at Liverpool Street, but nine-car trains will soon be introduced from May 2018, the year when the core section of the project opens.

Each train is built from lightweight materials specifically designed to generate electricity back into the power supply when the train brakes, thus using up to 30% less energy.

For more details of our Bombardier visit and interview with Wild, make sure to read the upcoming August/September edition of RTM.


David   01/08/2016 at 16:07

It's a shame then that the interior of 345002 wasn't fully finished for the press launch; I heard that this is down to supplier issues...

Andrew Gwilt   02/08/2016 at 01:57

I do like the design of the new Bombardier Class 345 Aventra trains that all 66 of the Class 345's are to be built for Crossrail Elizabeth Line (replacing the Class 315) and 45 Class 710 Aventra trains are also to be built for London Overground which will replace the Class 172, Class 317 and Class 315 trains.

Andrew Gwilt   02/08/2016 at 02:05

Plus Class 710 will also be the same design but with 2 doors on each carriage as the Class 345 will have 3 doors on each carriage.

Scottie   02/08/2016 at 12:44

Technical Question for RTM and it's readers ? Why does the UK shy away from ordering truly articulated Suburban trainsets with shared bogies ? Like they use extensively in Spain, Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland ? My understanding is that this type of train reduces wear and tear on the track. Surely theses 9 coach units were an ideal opportunity to utilise this type of design that is widely used elsewhere ! Am very pleased that each coach has three sets of doors for rapid loading and unloading.

David Winter   02/08/2016 at 13:11

Scottie. AIUI, Network Rail has long been concerned at the rate of rail wear and track forces arising from articulation.It is disappointing that a RSSB project into the track impacts of articulation hasn't thus far occured.

Manek Dubash   02/08/2016 at 16:00

I just hope the seats will be more comfortable than those on the newer Bombardier products, such as the Class 378s. Horribly hard and too tightly packed.

Paul Hepworth   02/08/2016 at 17:30

Flexible space for bikes? & if so will they be able to be carried off peak through the central London part of the route?

David Fenner   02/08/2016 at 21:05

I am not so sure the suburban passengers using these trains will be quite so happy with the limited number of seats and lack of toilet facilities. Yes the majority of passengers may only be on the train for 15 minutes but you can double that, and more, if you are commute from west of Hayes and Harlington or East of Ilford. The technical build and test arrangements do seem to be world class.

John Lyons   03/08/2016 at 06:39

"never been a ‘better designed’ train" I can think of many; all of which have toilets........

James Miller   12/10/2016 at 09:23

Currently the 315s working to Shenfield don't have toilets, but a surprising number of the stations do. I think it could be better if all stations had a decent toilet, as after all if you got off to relieve yourself, there would be another train in a few minutes. Incidentally, I am on Warfarin and cut my finger on the seat on a Thameslink 319. I was only one stop from St. Pancras, so got off there and couldn't find a toilet with a cild tap to stop the bleeding. I think that there could be arguments that having good facilities on the platforms on a suburban train are better for most passengers than having them on the train.

Glen   05/03/2017 at 23:14

"It's what our customers want" says a man clearly never been near the TfL rail service from ilford, the trains are woefully overcrowded and no chance of a seat even with a massive 33%, if the artist views of the interior are anything to go by they should have got someone who is 5ft tall to see how many places they can stand and if you want standing passengers provide adequate handles and poles as not all people are tall.

Hingreg   09/03/2017 at 09:54

@ John Lyons If you think that is well designed, wait for my cl710 styling and design when they release it. Please also look for the real industrial designers behind the products not just the directors who release it.

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