31 July 2023
Light rail vehicles first to be introduced in Wales, promising to "revolutionise transport across South Wales valleys".
Brand-new electric tram trains for the South Wales valleys have been unveiled at Transport for Wales' new £100M depot at Taff’s Well. As part of the South Wales Metro project being delivered by Transport for Wales, the light rail vehicles are the first to be introduced in Wales, operating on both electric lines and battery power.
Class 398 trams on depot at Taff's Well – note the tight curvature of the track.
Travelling up to 100 km/h on rail they will also be able to run on tram lines and at 40m long will hold up to 252 passengers. The new £100M Taff’s Well depot is said to be "progressing" and will become the home of the South Wales Metro providing electrical controls and signalling for the network as well as a maintenance depot for the new tram trains.
The control centre is now operational, providing signalling for trains on the Treherbert, Aberdare and Merthyr railway lines.
An interior view of the new Class 398 trams in TfW 'house' colours.
Karl Gilmore, Rail Infrastructure Director at TfW said: “We’re making huge progress at our depot at Taff’s Well and everything is now becoming very visual. The maintenance depot and control centre buildings are both erected and can be clearly seen and the railway tracks connecting the depot to the mainline have been laid.
“Our new tram trains are here and are currently being tested at the depot and on our valley lines. We’ve already electrified our first phase of lines in the valleys and will continue to do so over the coming months.
“It’s a really exciting time for South Wales as this depot and these tram trains will revolutionise transport in the region.”
Alexia Course, Chief Commercial Officer added: “Our Citylink Class 398 Tram Trains that have been manufactured by Stadler are now on test in South Wales and this signifies another step closer to delivering the South Wales Metro.
“We have ordered 36 of these three-car tram trains and they are spacious and bright with multifunctional areas for bicycles, seats for people with reduced mobility and wheelchair passenger spaces.
“The light rail vehicles are designed to connect city centres with outlying areas and we’re excited to add them to our network in the coming months.”