Class 196, Via West Midlands Railway

West Midlands Railway launches new train fleet into service

The West Midlands Railway (WMR) has officially welcomed its new train fleet into service, carrying the inaugural passengers on the Hereford Line on Monday night to Worcester Shrub Hill.

This new Class 196 is now serving passengers in the locations Bromsgrove, Droitwich and Worcester, following the introduction on the Shrewsbury Line in October. The first train in passenger service was formed of a pair of two-carriage trains - 196005 and 196006.

WMR now has 26 train strong fleet of the Class 196 on its roster, with the rolling stock featuring key design innovations to improve the passenger experience throughout the network, introducing features such as intelligent air conditioning, plug and USB chargers at every seat and extra storage space. This additional space builds to an overall capacity increase to 25% more than the fleet that they are replacing.

Jonny Wiseman, WMR customer experience director, said:

“I am delighted that even more passengers are now able to take advantage of our newest train fleet with the rollout of the Class 196s onto the Hereford Line.

“With smart air conditioning, power points at every seat and extra space on board, I am certain these trains will prove a hit with our passengers in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.”

Representing the first time that WMR has seen a new fleet introduction for over a decade, the Class 196 introduction comes as part of the operators transformational £690m investment into new trains and infrastructure across its network.

Starting on a small number of journeys on the Hereford Line, the launch of the new fleet will take place over several months as they are drip fed into services. Later this year will see the trains carry passengers on the Leamington to Nuneaton route, providing key services to a plethora of communities including Coventry, Kenilworth and Bedworth.

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