Swiss rail-builder, Stadler, is about to kick off the project to supply CITYLINK tram-trains and FLIRT trains for Wales & Borders. The client is Transport for Wales Rail Services.
This major contract is for 36 three-car CITYLINK tram-trains and 35 FLIRT (Fast Light Intercity and Regional Train) trains. The CITYLINK three-car tram-trains will use 25 kV as well as battery power. Of the 35 FLIRT units 11 will be diesel-operated and used on South Wales Metro services. The other 24 FLIRT units will be tri-mode, capable of running on diesel, overhead electric wires and battery power. The tri-mode fleet consists of seven three-car and 17 four-car trains. Coming on-stream in 2023, they will be powered by electricity to the north of Cardiff and diesel to the south, providing a cross-city connection.
The use of batteries on tram-trains and tri-modes is an innovative and cost-effective way of providing a fully electric, environmentally-friendly service north of Cardiff by enabling ‘smart electrification’ of the infrastructure.
Stadler already has several contracts in the UK. From this year, 58 new trains will enter service on the Greater Anglia network. Over the next couple of years, 17 new trains will be introduced on the Glasgow Subway and 52 on Merseyrail. Stadler trains first started running in this country in 2013, and there are now 12 Variobahn trams operating on the Croydon Tramlink network. We delivered seven Class 399 CITYLINK vehicles for the tram network in Sheffield in 2017. Our Class 68 and 88 locomotives, ordered in 2013, are
already well established work-horses on the British rail landscape.
Ralf Warwel, UK sales director at Stadler Rail, commented: ‘Stadler is delighted to be supplying 71 state-of-the-art new trains for Transport for Wales Rail Services. This order will bolster our presence in Great Britain and we look forward to working with our clients in Wales. With its emphasis on battery power, the project puts us at the forefront of cutting edge, green technology, and we are especially proud of that.’
Kevin Thomas, chief executive officer of Transport for Wales Rail Services, said: ‘Our journey has begun and we are all absolutely determined to create a transport network that is fit for the future. It’s really exciting to know that Cardiff will see the return of a tram operation for the first time in over 70 years, while the tri-modes being built by Stadler will offer an efficient and cost-effective electric drive and battery operation. 2022 can’t come soon enough for us or our passengers.’