1st Oct, 2020

Watch the new 'Class 196' diesel trains serving Droitwich from next year

RAIL users in Bromsgrove and Droitwich will be among those who can get a glimpse of the new state-of-the-art trains due to arrive in the region next year.

On-track testing has started on the 26 diesel trains – known in the rail industry as ‘Class 196s’ – which will be serving the two towns on the Birmingham to Hereford line.

It is part of West Midlands Railway’s £800million investment in the region’s network.

View the video of one of the first new trains – complete with West Midlands Railway branding – being track-tested in Czechia in eastern Europe.

The trains – being built in two-car and four-car formations – will increase capacity on the busy line.

Passengers will also have access to power points, WiFi and under-floor heating.

A total of 80 carriages will be constructed under the project with the first batch now being built in Europe by manufacturer CAF.

They are due to arrive in the UK in the spring, with the remaining trains being manufactured at a purpose-built factory in south Wales.

All units will undergo further testing here and in Europe before entering passenger service in the second half of 2020.

Jane Fisher, transition and projects director for West Midlands Railway, said: “The popularity of rail travel in the West Midlands is continuing to grow at a rapid rate, which is why we have pledged to invest £800m to help us keep up with demand.

“It is exciting to see that this investment is starting to come to fruition with our new Class 196 trains entering the track-testing stage before they begin arriving in the UK next year.

“These smart, modern trains will boost capacity on our network and come with features such as under-floor heating and extra luggage space which I am certain will prove popular with passengers.”

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