South Western Railway can finally welcome its new £1 billion fleet into service as its new Arterio train has entered service.
An Arterio train completed its first journey recently, carrying passengers between London Waterloo and Windsor.
The Class 701 trains which are modelled on the Aventra platform were originally ordered in 2017 and were due to enter service in 2020 have been beset by delays.
It was revealed last year that the trains had suffered from various software issues, including problems with door obstacle detectors, coupling process issues and other defects.
Of the 90 Class 701 trains ordered, only 60 have been delivered so far, with only one in passenger service.
SWR said it aims to introduce the remaining trains, which are built by Alstom in Derby, into passenger service within the next 12 to 18 months.
For now, just one new train will run each day between London and Windsor, for four days as part of a trial. SWR are planning a phased service over the coming months.
Stuart Meek, SWR's chief operating officer, said: "We're very keen to get the full fleet into service as soon as possible, but we need to do that cautiously."
“It’s a really important step on the journey towards full fleet introduction of the 90 trains of the Arterio fleet, but it’s a really important step as well because as we learn from today the experience of putting this train into passenger service, we can learn the lessons and get the rest of the fleet in service as soon as possible.”
Claire Mann, managing director of South Western Railway said: “Talking to customers on the train and they absolutely love it. It is a beautiful train. It’s an amazing moment for all of us here at South Western Railway as we see our first train in service.”
Photo Credit: South Western Railways