Prince Charles opens CAF’s Newport factory

HIS ROYAL Highness the Prince of Wales officially opened CAF’s factory at the Celtic Business Park near Newport, South Wales on 21 February.

The factory opened its doors in September 2018 and is the result of a £30 million investment by the Spanish manufacturer with grant support from the Welsh Government’s Inward Investment Programme. St Modwen is the landowner and developer for the Celtic Business Park site, while Bowmer & Kirkland was principal contractor for construction of the factory.

Prince of Wales: CAF Chief Executive Andrés Arizkorreta García welcomes Prince Charles to the company’s Newport factory on 21 February 2020.
Philip Sherratt
Bogie for Civity DMU: the assembly hall of the CAF factory at Newport.
Philip Sherratt
Welsh dragon: Class 195 specially prepared for the royal factory opening on 21 February 2020.
Philip Sherratt

Initially CAF has built Civity DMUs at Newport. The South Wales site has assembled 19x2-car Class 195s for Northern, plus the driving vehicles for 3x3-car units which were a later addition to the order; the last vehicles for Northern were nearing completion at the time of the official opening.

The main focus at present is on Class 196 DMUs for West Midlands Trains, with Newport building 60 of the 80 vehicles on order (11x4-car and 8x2-car sets), the first 20 carriages coming from CAF’s Beasain factory in Spain. The first train from Newport is due to be delivered to WMT in the spring, with a broad pattern of a pair of four-car sets followed by a two-car. The WMT build will be completed by the end of the year.

After that will be all 77 trains in a 180-vehicle order for the Wales and Borders franchise. Newport will build 51x2-car and 26x3-car Class 197s, and the first bodyshell was due to be delivered to Newport in March with production ramping up next year.

CAF says Newport could build a range of trains from light rail to high-speed, including for export abroad. The factory has scope to expand, including the setup of further production lines and options for additional land within the Celtic Business Park if needed.

For more on the Newport factory see the feature in our March issue.