STADLER has begun testing the first class 231 DMUs for Transport for Wales at its Erlen facility in Switzerland. 

The five-car Flirt trains are due to enter traffic at the end of 2022 on the Cheltenham - Maesteg and Cardiff Central - Ebbw Vale lines. There is currently no date for when the first class 231s will arrive in Wales. 

The Swiss manufacturer is building 35 Flirts for TfW Rail. As well as the class 231s, there are 24 tri-mode class 756s which feature diesel, overhead electric and battery power on order. These will operate on the Rhymney, Coryton and Vale of Glamorgan lines.  

The Flirts have increased capacity compared with existing TfW fleets and will be fitted with power sockets, passenger information screens and air-conditioning. Each train will have space for six bicycles while there will be level-boarding for those with limited mobility.  

“From day one at TfW our main goal has been to transform transport and improve the customer experience,” says Transport for Wales CEO, Mr James Price. “These brand-new trains with better facilities all round will provide a modern service for the people of Wales.”  

Testing of the Stadler Flirts follows the start of main line testing of CAF class 197 Civity DMUs in North Wales. A further 36 three-car class 398 tram-trains are also on order from Stadler. TfW has also bought 45 mark 4 coaches for its premier locomotive-hauled services.  

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