Northern has introduced eight Class 769 FLEX trains on its network after testing was completed.
The Class 769 trains, constructed by Porterbrook and Wabtec/Brush, made their debut on the Southport – Stalybridge and Alderley Edge as part of the new May timetable.
Do they look familiar trains to you? Well, the Class 769s are based on Class 319 electric trains but the 769s have diesel engines to allow them to travel on both electrified and non-electrified routes.
FLEX trains use diesel powered alternators to power the existing traction equipment, through the trains’ DC bus, avoiding any major changes to existing equipment, to create a train capable of operating on different modes whilst maintaining the same capabilities on electrified routes.
Chris Jackson, Regional Director at Northern, said: “We are really proud to be involved in this pioneering development. Bi-mode trains bring the benefits of railway modernisation, to more customers, more quickly.
“Northern is determined to make a positive impact for the north of England and this technology opens up new opportunities to spread the benefits of electrification to non-electrified routes, delivering more efficient journeys and increased capacity for our customers.”
Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook, said: “The introduction of the FLEX fleet into traffic is the result of a collaborative partnership between Northern, Porterbrook and our suppliers. I would like to thank Northern for their unstinting commitment to the successful introduction of this highly innovative fleet, as well as my own team for their relentless focus on the needs of our customer.
“The bi-mode capability of the Class 769 fleet will ensure that communities across the Southport – Alderley Edge route can share in the benefits of electrification.”
Chris added: “Our customers are at the heart of all we do and the introduction of Class 769s complements other improvements Northern has made to the network in recent months. As part of our A Better Way to Go campaign, which is delivering enhancements for customers across the north, we have introduced 100 brand new trains, completed the refurbishment of all our older trains, and delivered significant improvements – including enhanced accessibility – at many of our stations.
“Wherever people travel on our network we want them to have full confidence in Northern and A Better Way to Go demonstrates our commitment to customers as we continue to transform rail travel in the north.”
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