Launch of new trains linking Shrewsbury and London delayed until next year
The long-awaited hi-tech new trains which will provide express rail services across the West Midlands will not go into service until next year.
A fleet of 23 new Class 805 trains had been due to start replacing the 21-year-old Bombardier Super Voyager diesel trains by the end of this year.
But a spokesman for Avanti West Coast, which operates express services between the West Midlands, London and the North, said the new trains would not now be going in to service until 'some time next year'.
The new trains will operate services from Shrewsbury to Birmingham and London, stopping at Wellington, Telford, Wolverhampton and Sandwell and Dudley.
At the moment the Shrewsbury-Wolverhampton stretch of the route lacks electrification, meaning that only diesel trains can operate on the Shrewsbury-London route.
However the new 'bi-mode' trains will be able to switch seamlessly between electric and diesel power, meaning they can run on electricity from Wolverhampton to London.
The first two Class 805s were delivered a year ago, and began testing on the line in February this year. The new trains were due to enter service by the end of this year.
Avanti said the £350 million new trains, based on the Japanese A-Train, would reduce carbon emissions by 61 per cent.
They will also provide a quieter, roomier service, with a more reliable internet connection, wireless charging for electric devices and a real-time customer information system, the company added.
The trains were built at Hitachi’s factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.