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Testing the TramTrains: South Wales Metro

Test operation of the first delivered TramTrain units of the South Wales Metro has begun. The manufacturer Stadler is delivering the 36 trains of the new 398 series to Cardiff. They will be able to run on both rail and tram lines and will operate on electrical lines and battery power. At 40 metres long (2.65m wide) the CITYLINK tram-trains can carry more than 250 passengers and on rail run at 100km per hour.    

The high-floor vehicles feature spacious, bright and air-conditioned passenger compartments with six multifunctional areas for bicycles, seats for people with reduced mobility and two wheelchair passenger spaces. In the future, they are to be operated in mixed battery mode or down 25 kV 50 Hz catenary. 2024 is the start date for passenger service on the Treherbert, Aberdare, Merthyr and City lines, with future plans for partial tram-like extensions on new lines from Cardiff Central to Cardiff Bay and beyond to Pierhead St. The Stadler TramTrains are designed for this kind of mixed operation. Newly delivered high-floor Stadler FLIRT trainsets run on other network sections. Both models had been presented to the public during the Innotrans 2022 in Berlin. Deliveries of the TramTrain series to Cardiff started in March 2023.

TramTrain unit 398 004 at the Innotrans 2022 in Berlin | © UTM
Stadler FLIRT for South Wales Metro at the Innotrans 2022 | © UTM

Transport for Wales recently electrified the first phase of the South Wales Metro and the first tram-trains are now in testing, ready for passengers in 2024. 

The Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for Transport, Lee Waters: “This is great news. Funded by our £800m investment in a new fleet of trains, these new light rail tram-trains, electrically powered, faster and with greater capacity, will play an important part in our plans to transform rail services in Wales.”

Alexia Course, Chief Commercial Officer at Transport for Wales: “Wales has yet to experience light rail travel and these vehicles will provide faster, cleaner and more efficient travel.  We’re investing £800 million in brand-new trains for Wales and a billion pounds on the South Wales Metro and through transforming our network we want to encourage more people to travel sustainably.”   

First test rides of the new TramTrain series 398 | © Transport for Wales Press
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