As part of a £700m investment in new trains, increasing capacity and infrastructure, the Class 730 electrics have air conditioning, underfloor heating, digital information screens, power points at every seat and accessible toilets.
The Class 730 built by Alstom, are made up of 48 three-carriage trains, comprising a total of 144 new coaches, the trains will enter front line service on the West Midlands Region for the first time next week, carrying passengers between Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Walsall.
Ian McConnell, managing director of West Midlands Railway, 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. I am certain they will prove popular and our teams are looking forward to welcoming customers on board.”
The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, commented: “It's good news that we're seeing this £700million investment by West Midlands Trains continuing as we work together to make our rail network fit for the future. These new trains will make a real difference to passengers right across our region – boosting capacity on some of our busiest routes.
Dominic Booth, chief executive of Transport UK Group, went on to say: “Today marks the dawn of a new era in rail travel for passengers on West Midlands Railway. As we modernise Britain's trains, this new state-of-the-art electric fleet offers a better journey experience for commuters and leisure travellers. As we work towards a more efficient, accessible, and sustainable rail network across the entire Transport UK group it's fantastic to see these new Class 730's being rolled out.”
Nick Crossfield, managing director of Alstom UK & Ireland, added: “Today is a proud day for everyone involved, as our Derby-designed and built trains enter passenger service across the West Midlands. Part of the Aventra family – the country's biggest train manufacturing programme in a generation – this state-of-the-art train exemplifies Alstom's commitment to smart and sustainable mobility. Working in partnership with West Midlands Railway we are delighted to provide passengers across the region with a cutting-edge and comfortable travel experience that offers a much greener alternative to the car. We now look forward to seeing the Class 730 enter service on the Cross City Line later this year, where our trains will double capacity for customers.”
A further 36 five-carriage sets of the 730 fleet are currently going through testing on the London Northwestern Region, sister company to West Midlands Railway. These trains will come into service next winter on longer-distance routes, connecting the West Midlands to both London and Liverpool.