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New SWR fleet delayed again

The first of South Western Railway’s fleet of 90 Class 701 trains will not enter service in December as planned.

SWR sources have confirmed the first passenger train will not run until the New Year.

The reasons are a combination of continuing technical glitches, and the challenge of training sufficient drivers and guards during the pandemic.

The train operator took delivery of its first set from Bombardier in June. It was tested initially from Eastleigh before moving to Wimbledon, where the fleet will be maintained.

In August an event was held at the south London depot to announce the fleet name of “Arterio,” when entry into service on the Reading to Waterloo line was promised “by December.”

Like all previous variants of the Aventra model on Crossrail, London Overground and Greater Anglia, there have been software issues.

Bombardier engineering director Christian Roth had previously admitted: “The biggest cause of delay was the software development. These trains are very complex – they have a lot of new features, with the integration of new signalling technology as well.”

750 carriages are on order, worth almost £1 billion. Delivery is expected to continue throughout 2021. A new stabling facility at Feltham is nearing completion.

No revised start date for the trains has been given.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 919, published on December 2, and available digitally from November 28.

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  • Andrew Gwilt - 25/11/2020 03:56

    60 10-Car Class 701/0 (701001-701060) does seem a lot. With 30 5-Car Class 701/5 (701501-701530) also to be built. Which will allow the 30 Class 707 (707001-707030) to be cascaded to Southeastern. And the Class 455, Class 456 and Class 458/5 units to be scrapped. But perhaps the Class 458/5 (458501-458536) could be cascaded to Southern to replace the Class 455 and Class 313. If Southern wants to replace the Class 313 and Class 455 and to inherit the Class 458/5 from South Western Railway.

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  • Anonymous - 01/01/2021 01:34

    My suggestion would be for the Class 701/0 10-Car units to be introduced in service from Spring 2021. And with the Class 701/5 5-Car units to be built which could enter service late this year or in early 2022.

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