NEW trains are currently being introduced to improve capacity on the train line between South Wales and Manchester, through Hereford.

Transport for Wales (TfW), which runs the Wales and Borders network through the Marches, said that from December it will be introducing more premium intercity trains for services on the route from Cardiff and Newport, through Hereford, Leominster, Ludlow and Shrewsbury, to Manchester.

These trains will include first-class carriages, free Wi-Fi, a buffet car, accessible toilets and baby-changing facilities. There will also be wheelchair and priority seating available.


TfW is introducing the 77 brand new Class 197 trains are also now beginning to enter passenger service which should alleviate problems some passengers encounter on the services.

Hereford Times: A Class 197 train at Conwy in North WalesA Class 197 train at Conwy in North Wales (Image: Ryan Lloyd)

Trains can be overcrowded, but TfW hopes the new rolling stock will improve passengers' experience.

TfW's chief operations officer Jan Chaudhry-Van der Velde said these new trains will provide a significant increase in capacity on the Marches Line route and a "premium service" between South Wales and Manchester every two hours.

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Then, by May 2023, the intercity trains will have a further carriage added, making them five carriages instead of four.

When the trains were finished in Newport, South Wales, James Price, Transport for Wales chief executive, said: “It’s an exciting milestone to have the first brand new trains built by Transport for Wales off the production line and into testing."


He added: “The Class 197s will be an important part of the transformation of the Wales and Borders network and we look forward to welcoming passengers onto the new trains from next year.

“We’re delighted with the quality of the trains and proud that final assembly has taken place in Newport, supporting highly-skilled jobs and bringing further employment to the area.”

The Class 197 trains also come equipped with a smart seat reservation system. Seat reservations will be downloaded from the reservation computer each time the traincrew change ends on the train.