South Western Railway’s (SWR) first Class 701 train has arrived at Wimbledon depot, marking a significant milestone in the £1 billion transformation of suburban travel.
The 10-car train, known as ‘Train 6’, will become the focus of training programmes and dynamic testing to ensure the entire fleet is passenger-ready ahead of its introduction later this year.
Neil Drury, SWR’s Engineering Director, said:
“We’re delighted Wimbledon depot has received its first class 701 train. There will be many significant developments in this programme – this is one of them.
“Train 6 allows us to prepare our drivers, maintenance staff and other colleagues for a generational step-change in service performance, and ensure that the important components which define the experience of travelling on these new trains are ready before the fleet’s eventual introduction.”
Having Train 6 based at Wimbledon will allow drivers, maintenance and other depot staff to begin their training and develop new skills in preparation for the next generation of trains. Wimbledon depot will eventually become the new maintenance home for the entire Class 701 fleet.
All the current fleet operating on the suburban network – Class 455, 456, 458 and 707 trains – will be replaced over a two-year period when the new trains are introduced.
The train will also play a significant part in SWR’s programme for real-world network testing on passenger routes, which will take place from August. Modern onboard features allowing passengers to stay connected and travel comfortably – including air conditioning, Wi-Fi, at-seat charging points, travel information systems and fully accessible toilets – as well as technology which significantly boosts reliability and performance for passengers travelling every day on the network, will be put through its paces.
SWR’s Class 701 fleet consists of 90 new trains, representing a massive investment in modern, quicker and reliable services for passengers. Aided by the latest technology, the fleet will help more passengers arrive on time in the morning and evening peak periods on one of Europe’s busiest rail networks.