Transport User Voice March 2024 – A new era for passengers

29 February 2024

Electric trains unveiled 

A new era began for rail passengers in the West Midlands recently with the introduction of brand-new electric trains.

The trains, which are part of a £700m investment by West Midlands Trains, offer a significant increase in capacity on the trains they replace.

Transport Focus attended the launch earlier this month in Wolverhampton, when the first of the 48, three carriage trains made its debut in front of a host of stakeholders including local user groups, Network Rail and the Department for Transport.

The trains will enter service in the region over the next few weeks carrying passengers between Wolverhampton, Birmingham, and Walsall. Passengers on the busy Cross City Line, connecting Lichfield, Birmingham, Redditch, and Bromsgrove can expect to see the new trains there later in the year.

What can passengers expect?

The host of new and improved features include:

  • accessible toilets
  • digital information screens
  • air conditioning
  • underfloor heating
  • power points at every seat
  • spacious metro-style carriage interiors
  • capacity changes over the new three carriages including space for 201 passengers seated, 345 standing, with a total capacity of 546.

They will offer a comfortable travel experience and a greener alternative to the car as well as boosting capacity on some of the busiest routes. Testing is also underway for 36 five-carriage versions of the new electric trains with West Midlands Railway’s sister company London Northwestern Railway. These trains will come into service next winter on longer-distance routes, connecting the West Midlands with Liverpool and London.

The new trains are not the only development that passengers will see in the coming months and years, as new stations are planned for Balsall Heath, Coventry East (Binley), Foleshill, Castle Bromwich and Tettenhall. Pay as You Go technology is also coming down the track for customers that could bring opportunities for more joined up travel.


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