UK rail operator West Midlands Railway (WMR) has unveiled its new electric train fleet as it enters service for the first time, as part of a £700m investment into new rolling stock and infrastructure in the region.
The first of the 48 three-carriage Class 730 trains will initially be used on routes between Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Walsall, before entering service on the Cross City Line between Lichfield, Birmingham and Bromsgrove in the spring of 2024.
Ian McConnell, managing director of WMR, said: “These modern electric trains represent a huge upgrade to the experience of travelling by train in the West Midlands.
“Not only are the Class 730s physically longer than the trains they replace, meaning they can carry more people, the carriage interiors have been designed in a spacious, metro-style to maximise space.”
The Alstom-built fleet will replace WMR’s Class 350 and 323 trains currently used on the Wolverhampton to Walsall and Cross City Line services and are expected to almost double capacity on the routes.
In addition to the three-carriage trains, another 36 five-carriage Class 730s will also be entering service for WMR at the end of 2024 following the end of testing currently being carried out by WMR’s sister operator London Northwestern Railway.
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Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “These new trains will make a real difference to passengers right across our region – boosting capacity on some of our busiest routes.
“With new stations under construction and the recent announcement that Pay As You Go technology is coming down the track, the future is looking bright for rail travel in the West Midlands.”
The unveiling of the Class 730s follows WMR’s introduction of 26 Class 196 diesel trains at the end of 2022, the first of its new rolling stock under the significant investment programme.