UK-based train operating company West Midlands Railway has unveiled a new train fleet, Class 196s, to better serve the passengers in the West Midlands region.

The new fleet, which includes 26 trains, is part of the company’s £690m investment programme that aims to add new trains and develop infrastructure.

Serving destinations such as Birmingham, Wolverhampton, and Telford, the first trains in the fleet will begin service on the Shrewsbury Line in the next few weeks.

Charles Darwin is the name of the first train in the fleet.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “These fantastic new trains will make a real difference for passengers, improving the travel experience, connecting communities and providing extra capacity, which is much needed as public transport usage continues to climb post-pandemic.”

Various features of the new fleet include more seats and tables with enhanced under-seat storage, improved accessibility, and more bicycle storage.

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By GlobalData

The trains also include clear luggage racks and smart new digital screens that will offer live journey information, plug and USB sockets at every seat, intelligent air-conditioning, and free Wi-Fi.

Midlands Railway managing director Ian McConnell said: “These brand new trains will provide a much-improved travelling experience for our customers with smart air conditioning and power points at every seat.

“We have had to wait a little while to introduce these trains due to the pandemic but I am delighted our customers will soon be able to experience the trains for themselves.”