Initially Class 730s will run six passenger services every weekday but this will be stepped up in the coming weeks as more units are brought into service.
The first trains in service are from the three-carriage Class 730/0 sub-class, typically running with two units coupled together as six-carriage trains. The Class 730/0s – which are ultimately destined for routes in the West Midlands – have been introduced on the West Coast Main Line as a temporary measure until five-carriage Class 730/2s are brought into service next year.
Due to their spacious interiors, a six-carriage Class 730/0s has a higher total capacity than the eight-carriage trains they are replacing.
The next route where Class 730/0s will be deployed will be between Walsall and Wolverhampton early next year, followed by the Cross City Line through Birmingham. Once fully rolled out, the Class 730 fleet will consist of 324 new carriages across 82 trains in a mixture of three/six-carriage and five/10-carriage formations.
John Doughty, LNR Engineering Director, said, “These state-of-the-art electric trains will make a real difference for customers across our network. The carriages of our Class 730s are longer and more spacious than our existing fleet, allowing us to carry more passengers and improve accessibility amongst a range of passenger benefits. We are pleased we can utilize the Class 730s to increase overall capacity on our routes to and from London Euston before we bring the fleet to the West Midlands next year.”
The introduction of the Class 730s into passenger service on the West Coast Main Line will allow the withdrawal of LNR’s five remaining Class 319 units by the end of 2023. The introduction of the Class 730s onto the Cross City Line next year will see the Class 323 trains currently in use on the route cascade to Northern.
Coming on the back of the introduction of the Class 196 fleet on routes operated by LNR’s sister company West Midlands Railway last year, the Class 730 fleet is part of parent company West Midlands Trains’ £690m investment in new trains and infrastructure.