Testing will start in July with a view to the first train entering service later this year. The trains are being supplied under a £895m contract agreed by SWR’s owners First Group and MTR on June 2 2017 and were originally planned to enter service from mid-2019.

The 160km/h trains are based on Bombardier’s Aventra platform and will be formed into 60 10-car trains and 30 five-car units. Each five-car train will have 274 seats with room for 361 standing passengers, while a 10-car set will seat 556 passengers with space for 746 standing.

The trains feature a new design of communications system, environmentally-friendly toilets, sensitive-edge doors, Wi-Fi, at-seating charging points and regenerative braking.

SWR will use the trains to increase peak capacity on suburban routes into London Waterloo by 46%. The uniform fleet will replace class 455 EMUs dating from the 1980s, refurbished class 458 Alstom Coradia Juniper five-car EMUs, as well as the fleet of 30 class 707 Siemens Desiro City five-car EMUs which only entered service in 2017. The latter will be transferred to Southeastern which operates commuter services in southeast London.

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