News Front


Aventra for West Coast main line services: impression of Class 730 in London Northwestern livery.
Outer-suburban layout: 2+2 seating in London Northwestern Railway Aventra.

NEW FLEETS order by West Midlands Trains will help the operator deliver a 25% increase in capacity, WMT Managing Director Jan Chaudry-van der Velde told the Modern Railways Fourth Friday Club Rail in the Midlands conference, held at the National College for High Speed Rail’s Birmingham site on 2 November. The MD outlined the operator’s leet plans, which includes new leets of Civity DMUs from CAF and Aventra EMUs from Bombardier, to enter service from 2020.

WMT has ordered 12x2-car Class 196/0 and 14x4-car Class 196/1 100mph DMUs from CAF to work non-electrified routes around Birmingham. Mr Chaudhry-van der Velde told the conference it is likely these will be built at the manufacturer’s new factory at Newport in South Wales.

Three diferent sub-leets of Class 730 Aventra EMUs have been ordered from Bombardier. For the Cross City line in Birmingham 36x3-car Class 730/0 units will be supplied, designed with large standback areas around the doors to ease boarding and alighting and improve dwell times. They will replace a leet of 26x3-car Class 323s, due to go of lease in autumn 2020, with the larger leet enabling more six-car trains to operate on the route.

For services on the West Coast main line, two ive-car 110mph variants will be supplied – 29 outer-suburban Class 730/1 units with 3+2 seating and 16 long-distance Class 730/2 units with 2+2 seating. Bombardier will build all the Class 730s at its factory in Derby. In the medium-term, WMT is to receive some cascaded leets.

In addition to its current clutch of 10 Class 319 EMUs, a further ive units are due to arrive on short-term lease until February 2020. Prior to May next year WMT will receive eight Class 172 DMUs cascaded from the Gospel Oak to Barking route by the arrival there of EMUs; this cascade has been delayed, but Mr Chaudhry-van der Velde said WMT requires these units to operate its planned May 2019 timetable (which will include enhancements deferred from this December). The arrival of the ‘172s’ will help create a more standardised diesel leet at Tyseley depot, with Class 150, 153 and 170 units withdrawn during 2019 and 2020.

In terms of EMUs, 10 Class 350/4s cascaded from TransPennine Express are due to arrive in mid-2019, while in turn 37 Class 350/2 EMUs will go of lease between February and May 2021 as the Class 730s arrive.

Cross City Aventra: impression of Class 730/0 in WMT livery.