South West Trains (SWT) has reached a milestone in its plans to introduce a £210m fleet of new trains from June 2017.
The construction of the first Siemens-built class 707 Desiro City trains is underway with the main body of the train created and assembled, marking the first stage of development for the new trains which will allow more than 18,000 extra passengers to travel between London Waterloo and Windsor.
Passengers using the route which stops at a number of stations in and around Hounslow including Richmond , Twickenham , Whitton and Feltham , are expected to benefit from better onboard facilities and more space on some of the busiest journeys.
Christian Roth, engineering director for South West Trains, said: “The introduction of the brand new Class 707 Desiro City trains is an absolutely crucial part of our plans to provide the biggest increase in capacity on this network for decades.
"When delivered, these new trains will provide a major increase in spaces for passengers as well as much improved facilities, including better accessibility and free WiFi.
“We are delighted manufacturing is now underway and look forward to welcoming the first units to the UK.”
Design work for the 30 five-carriage trains has been completed and the first unit is due to be built by the end of February 2016.
Extensive testing will roll out in May 2016 and staff will receive training to familiarise themselves with the new systems, before being delivered by leasing company Angel Trains to SWT's Wimbledon depot in time to start passengers services in June 2017.
The entire fleet of trains which are lighter and more energy efficient are expected to be delivered by the end of 2017.
Other features on the train include air-conditioning, better onboard train information systems, free passenger WiFi and wider aisles.
Steve Scrimshaw, managing director of rail systems at Siemens, said: “The start of manufacture for a new fleet of trains is always an exciting milestone. It gives a sense of real progress to a project that up until now has lived on paper, technical drawings and computer.
“We are now turning the designs into reality and drawing closer to the next key milestone, the first complete train running around our test track before the ultimate goal, delivering new, spacious and comfortable trains that really improve the passenger experience.”
When they are introduced, it will allow other existing SWT trains to be moved to other parts of the network – increasing capacity on other key routes.
Malcolm Brown, Chief Executive Officer for Angel Trains, said: “We are delighted to be working with Siemens and Stagecoach South Western Trains to procure and lease this new fleet of new Class 707s which will bring much needed additional capacity and an improved passenger experience to the system from next year. ”