The first service to use the new trains was the 6.04 am departure from Bletchley to London Euston with 730007 and 730010, which returned on the 7.24 am return from Euston to Tring. Initially, Class 730s are scheduled to be used on six passenger services each weekday as more units are brought into service that number will increase accordingly.
The first trains in service are of a three-carriage Class 730/0 sub-class, which normally run with two units coupled together to form a six-carriage train. Their use on the West Coast Main Line is a temporary measure until five-carriage Class 730/2s are brought into service next year.
The design of the Class 730/0s means that two three-car units have a higher capacity than the eight-carriage trains they are replacing. Once complete, the Class 730 fleet will comprise 82 trains with 324 new carriages in a mixture of three/six-carriage and five/ten-carriage formations. Among the features of the new trains are:
- Increased passenger capacity;
- Improved accessibility with spacious interiors;
- More bicycle storage, with space for up to three bicycles;
- Clear luggage racks to minimise the chance of passengers leaving items behind;
- Digital information screens with tools such as the location of quieter carriages;
- Plug and USB sockets at every seat;
- Energy-saving intelligent lighting that optimises ambient light;
- Free Wi-Fi
The rollout of the Class 730s is part of parent company West Midlands Trains' £690m investment in new trains and infrastructure, LNR's five remaining Class 319 units on the West Coast Main Line will be withdrawn by the end of this year, whilst the Class 323s currently in use on the Cross City Line will be cascaded to Northern next year.
John Doughty, LNR Engineering Director, said: “These state-of-the-art electric trains will make a real difference for customers across our network.
“The carriages of our Class 730s are longer and more spacious than our existing fleet, allowing us to carry more passengers and improve accessibility amongst a range of passenger benefits.
“We are pleased we are able to utilise the Class 730s to increase overall capacity on our routes to and from London Euston before we bring the fleet to the West Midlands next year.”