The first fleet of trains able to run on overhead and third-rail electric lines, as well as under their own power, will be introduced onto London and Thames Valley services next year following a deal between Porterbrook Leasing and Great Western Railway.
The 19 Class 769 Flex trains begin to be introduced onto the Great Western Railway network from Spring 2019. This will release a similar number of popular Turbostar trains to add capacity in the Bristol area, offering the potential for launching new routes through the city.
This is the latest step in Great Western Railway’s drive to provide more seats across its network and builds on the 8,000 additional seats delivered into and out of London earlier this year.
This innovative fleet of tri-mode trains will operate in four-carriage sets which will be refurbished inside and out, with free WiFi and power at each seat, air cooling, more space for luggage, and new seat covers. Its modern two-engine design will offer a quieter and cleaner experience for customers.
Initially, the fleet will support the introduction of refreshed trains on Heathrow Express services, but will be predominantly be used on routes between Reading and Gatwick, and Reading and Oxford, where the train’s tri-mode can be used to its fullest. However, the tri-mode nature of the train will give GWR maximum flexibility to use them in other areas of the network should they be required.
Final details of exactly how and where the new fleet will be used are currently being drawn up, and expected to be finalised later this year.
GWR Managing Director, Mark Hopwood said: “We are already delivering the biggest fleet upgrade in a generation across the Great Western network, but today’s news shows we have not stopped looking at ways to improve our service for customers by adding extra capacity to our network.”
Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook, said: “I am delighted that Great Western Railway have agreed to add our innovative tri-mode trains to their fleet. These trains will offer GWR greater operational flexibility with reduced operating costs; at the same time their conversion and upgrade will see skilled engineering jobs secured in the UK supply chain.”
Notes to editors
Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England. We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives, we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we’re Building a Greater West at GWR.com. GWR is a FirstGroup company.