UK-based railway operator Northern has started testing the first vehicle of its new Class 195 train fleet.

In its maiden trial, the new train ran on the West Coast Mainline between Warrington and Carnforth after leaving Liverpool on the St Helen’s branch.

Northern is scheduled to receive 98 new vehicles comprising Class 195 and Class 331 trains, under a £500m rolling stock contract to support its modernisation plans.

All the 98 trains, which are owned by Eversholt Rail and manufactured by CAF, will be leased to Northern following their deliveries.

It received the first vehicle under the contract in June.

Northern Engineering director Ben Ackroyd said: “The first of the new trains arrived in the UK in June and we’ve received a further three since then. It’s very rewarding to see our new trains programme reach such an important milestone.

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“The start of UK track testing really brings the project to life after months of design and construction work.”

“The start of UK track testing really brings the project to life after months of design and construction work.”

The dynamic testing of the vehicles on the UK rail network will continue, as Northern plans to introduce the first new train into passenger service by the end of this year.

Expected to improve customer services along the operating routes, these new trains are equipped with air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and at-seat power systems.

Eversholt Rail client relations director Steve Timothy said: “We are excited to see our new Class 195 and Class 331 trains arriving in the UK and moving into the testing phase.

“We’ll continue to work closely with Northern Rail, CAF, and local stakeholders to support these trains going into passenger service successfully in 2019.”