Published 2nd March 2012
LONDON - The Department for Transport has at long last confirmed order for 20 new Siemens Class 350 25KV electric 4-car trains for London Midland and First TransPennine Express.
The new units will be split 50/50 between the two operators, with London Midland receiving 10 new “350/3” designated units, and TransPennine Express receiving 10 new “350/4” designated units. The units are expected to be capable of 110mph, against the current 100 which enables better paths to be found and track capacity to be optimised.
London Midland will use 7 of the units as part of a bid for an extra three services into London Euston in morning peak, and an extra five services from London Euston in the evening peak. 3 units will be used to improve capacity on the Cross City line in Birmingham. This comes as one aspect of a wider scheme of Class 350 improvements in the London Midland franchise, which will see some Class 350 units maximum speeds increase to 110mph.
The units capable of 110mph are then expected to be deployed on services from London Euston to Crewe via Tamworth, where, if they are able to run via Weedon and not Northampton, there could be a journey time saving of up to 25 minutes. On the Cross City line, the units would be likely to operate services to a newly electrified station at Bromsgrove.
Patrick Verwer, of London Midland, said “We are very excited at the prospect of introducing higher speed services for our customers. These new trains will create significant extra capacity for our customers travelling into London Euston and the West Midlands. Their acquisition demonstrates our commitment to continue improving capacity, performance and customer satisfaction.”
As touched on in the Northern Hub news item, the Class 350/4 units to be operated by TransPennine Express between Manchester Airport, Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central, via Wigan North Western, Preston and Carlisle. These units will be built to be capable of reaching speeds of 110mph, and with the possibility of high speed acceleration technology in the units, could shave many minutes from journey times on the route. Ardwick Depot will host the units, and will be electrified as a result.
The interiors of the new units will be very similar to the comfortable and well regarded interior of the Class 185 “Pennine” units, currently seen operating the majority of TransPennine Express services.
Said Nick Donovan of First TransPennine Express "This is really good news for customers across our network. We know that many of our services are busy and the procurement of an additional 40 carriages will help to provide a much needed increase in seating capacity in response to growing customer demand.
"I am also really pleased that this project will create about 200 new jobs across the North of England, including drivers, conductors and train maintenance staff."
The order will not see First TransPennine express lose any of their trains, and as such it is likely that all Class 170 units will be able to operate in four car formations.
The Department of Transport were fully involved in the process, and made the request for London Midland to procure the additional vehicles for First TransPennine Express on their behalf. They are also going to be providing the necessary £41 million increase in payment to the two Franchises to get the order off the ground. The Department for Transport has stated that these carriages are due for delivery in 2013, becoming actively engaged in service in the December 2013 timetable change.
As we have seen with the delivery of Class 350, 360 and 380 units previously, it is anticipated that the new units will be hauled by a locomotive from the Channel Tunnel at Dollands Moor to London Midland’s state of the art depot at Northampton, who in turn are likely to undertake the testing and commissioning work required.
Posted on Friday 24th May 2013 | 4:42 PM
As a frequent traveller on tpx class 185's...it beggars belief that these so called trains are "highly regarded" ....by who ?? surely not the passengers who endure their lack of comfort /space and poor design . These are totally unsuitable for long distance travel of over an hour or so . They are mainly suited to commuter work . When Virgin Cross country had the franchise ...5 car voyagers were mostly used for Scotland and the NE routes. The numpties in the DfT and TPX who ordered these 350s should be forced to travel in them as a punishment !!!....as usual ...the north does not matter when it comes to transport /infrastructure etc ....and a final rant ...the inane onboard safety announcements ....does that womans awful voice not send anyone else crazy ???