TransPennine Express’ (TPE) first Mk5a coach is on course to enter service towards the end of 2018 after the start of testing at the Velim Test Centre in the Czech Republic.
Dubbed the ‘Nova 3’ by TPE, the train will now undergo a variety of tests covering: aerodynamics, braking and on-board information systems.
Once testing is complete, the trains will travel to the UK where further tests will be carried out before the trains begin carrying customers between Liverpool, Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds, York, Scarborough and Middlesbrough.
TPE managing director Leo Goodwin said: “It’s great that our plans are now becoming reality and I can’t wait for our customers to see and experience these futuristic trains for themselves.”
The 13 five-carriage trains have been financed by Beacon Rail and built by CAF. They feature more seats than the three-car Class 185 trains they will replace, USB charging, free wi-fi and real-time passenger information screens.
They will be pulled by Class 68 locomotives which will also be owned by Beacon Rail, leased by Direct Rail Services and maintained at Alstom’s facilities at Longsight.