British Rail Class 345

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British Rail Class 345 Aventra
345001 ABW.jpg
A Class 345 at Abbey Wood
British Rail Class 345 interior.jpg
The interior of a Class 345
In service22 June 2017 – present[1]
ManufacturerBombardier Transportation[2]
Built atDerby Litchurch Lane Works[2]
Family nameAventra
Number built70 units[3]
Formation7 or 9 carriages per unit[4]
Fleet numbers345001–345070
Capacity450 seated, 4 wheelchair, 1,500 people total[5]
Operator(s)Current: Elizabeth line
Former: TfL Rail
Line(s) served
Train length204.73 m (671 ft 8 in) (9 cars)
Car length23.615 m (77 ft 5.7 in) (end cars) 22.500 m (73 ft 9.8 in) (middle cars)
Width2,772 mm (9 ft 1.1 in)
Height3,760 mm (12 ft 4 in)
Floor height1.145 m (45.1 in)
DoorsPlug, 6 sets of doors per carriage
Maximum speed90 mph (145 km/h)
Weight319 t (314 long tons; 352 short tons)
Power output4,400 kW (5,900 hp)
Accelerationup to 1 m/s2 (3.6 km/(h⋅s); 2.2 mph/s)[5]
Electric system(s)25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead lines[5]
Current collector(s)Pantograph
Safety system(s)AWS, TPWS, CBTC, ETCS
Coupling systemDellner
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
Sourced from [6] unless otherwise noted.

The British Rail Class 345 Aventra is a type of electric multiple unit passenger train built by Bombardier Transportation as part of the Crossrail project for use on the Elizabeth line. Seventy nine-car trains have been manufactured at a cost of over £1 billion, with each train able to carry 1,500 passengers. The contract was awarded to Bombardier in February 2014 and the first train entered service on 22 June 2017.


Background and specifications[edit]

The new depot built for Class 345s at Old Oak Common

In 2008, the British government's rolling stock plan stated a requirement for around 610 carriages for Crossrail, expected to be similar in design to the Thameslink rolling stock, to meet the design improvement requirements of the 2007 "Rail Technical Strategy" (RTS), including in-cab signalling/communication with satellite and European Train Control System level 3 technologies, regenerative braking, low cost of operation and high reliability, with low weight and high acceleration.[7][8][9]

The publicly released specifications included a passenger capacity of 1,500, with 450 seated, in a fully air-conditioned train no longer than 205 m (672 ft 7 in) with a top speed of 145 km/h (90 mph), and an energy efficiency as good as 24 kWh per train-kilometre. Tests on the finished trains indicate that the energy efficiency target has been exceeded, with Class 345s consuming only 14 kWh per train-km.[10] The trains will work with platform screen doors in the central tunnel section.[5][11] The capital value of the contract, which included construction of a depot at Old Oak Common, was estimated at around £1bn.[12] The total value may be greater due to the winning bidder being expected to undertake maintenance of the trains for three decades, the estimated lifespan of the fleet.[13][14]

Bidding process and funding[edit]

In March 2011, Crossrail announced that Alstom, Bombardier, CAF, Hitachi and Siemens had been shortlisted. The initial bidding process was expected to start in late 2011, with a contract decision in 2013.[15][16]

In August 2011, the invitation to tender was delayed by one year to 2012 and the contract decision to 2014, with the introduction of trains on the Great Eastern Main Line expected from May 2017 (previously December 2016), with a correspondingly shortened production schedule. The delay was a cost-saving measure to avoid new vehicles being unused whilst Crossrail tunnelling was completed;[17] it also postponed bidding until after a review of governmental procurement processes.[18][19][20] Alstom withdrew from the bidding process in August 2011, stating it lacked a suitable developed product.[20] Concerns about taxpayer value for money on PFI funded projects led to Transport for London (TfL) seeking to purchase the trains outright.[21][22] In December 2011 the request to raise the debt ceiling at TfL to allow the acquisition with public funds was refused by the Department for Transport.[23]

In February 2012, an invitation to negotiate was issued, which included clauses on 'responsible procurement' relating to UK supply chain sourcing and training opportunities;[12][24] the procurement became politicised after Bombardier failed to win the Thameslink rolling stock contract, and said it might have to close its UK assembly plant (Derby Litchurch Lane, at the time the only operational rolling stock manufactory in the UK) if it did not win the Crossrail contract.[13][25][26][27][28]

Formal bids were expected in mid-2012, with a decision in early 2014, based on the proposed product meeting the design requirements, and on value for money. Procurement was expected to be partly public and partly privately financed.[12] In September 2012, the government announced that it would underwrite a further £240 million of the project cost under its 'UK Guarantees' infrastructure credit funding scheme, in addition to the 30 per cent of the project being government funded.[29][30] Siemens withdrew from the tendering process in July 2013, citing a likelihood of insufficient production capacity in the production timeframe.[31]

Contract award and construction[edit]

In December 2013, the European Investment Bank (EIB) agreed to provide loans to Transport for London for the rolling stock of up to £500m.[32] On 6 February 2014, it was announced that Bombardier Transportation had been awarded a £1bn contract to supply 65 trains,[4][33] with an option for 18 more.[4] The trains were constructed at Bombardier's Derby Litchurch Lane Works,[34] with testing scheduled to begin in May 2016.[35] On 29 July 2016, the first completed train was unveiled by Bombardier and Transport for London at Derby Litchurch Lane.[36]

In March 2018, an option for five more units was exercised taking the order to 70 units.[37]

Sale and leaseback[edit]

In January 2018 it was proposed that the fleet would be sold by TfL and leased back in order to provide funding for the New Tube for London.[38] This £1bn, 20 year sale and leaseback deal was agreed in March 2019.[39]


TfL Rail Class 345 approaching Reading

The first train entered service on 22 June 2017 on the eastern TfL Rail route between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield as a seven-car unit.[1] The complete nine-car sets could not be accommodated at the Liverpool Street termini until platforms were lengthened in 2021.[40][41]

The trains entered service on the western TfL Rail route between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington in May 2018, before running to Reading by December 2019.[42] Trains on the western route were initially delivered in seven-car formation, however these are being progressively converted into full nine-car units.[43]

The new trains have predominantly replaced the Class 315s previously used on TfL Rail services to Shenfield[44] and the Class 387s of Great Western Railway on services to Reading, as well as wholly replacing the Class 360s of the former Heathrow Connect on services to Heathrow.[45] The trains have free Wi-Fi and 4G available, as well as being fully accessible for wheelchair users.[46]

In May 2020, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) authorised the Class 345s to operate into Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3, Heathrow Terminal 4 and Heathrow Terminal 5, with service to start later on in the year.[47] On 30 July 2020, the Class 345s began operation to and from Heathrow.[48] On 24 May 2022, the trains began service in the central core section as the Elizabeth line. Trains were rebranded from TfL Rail to Elizabeth line for the start of service.[49]

Fleet details[edit]

Class 345 at Paddington station

630 carriages forming a total of 70 units were produced.[50][3] Like other contemporary commuter rolling stock orders, the trains are open gangway, with no doors between carriages. There are no toilets on board. Trains have a mix of longitudinal and transverse seating, and there is no first class section.

Class Operator No. built Year built Cars per set Unit nos.
345 MTR Elizabeth Line 70 2015–19 7 or 9 345001–070
Elizabeth Line Class 345

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Clinnick, Richard (31 May 2017). "Delayed start for first Crossrail Aventra". Rail Magazine. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Crossrail rolling stock and depot contract to be awarded to Bombardier" (Press release). Department of Transport. 6 February 2014.
  3. ^ a b "TfL to order more Elizabeth line trains". Global Rail News. 13 July 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Bombardier wins Crossrail train contract". Railway Gazette International. 6 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d "Crossrail rolling stock contract invitations to negotiate issued". Railway Gazette International. 28 February 2012.
  6. ^ "Class 345 Data with Photo" (PDF). Retrieved 18 September 2021.
  7. ^ "The Rail Technical Strategy". Department for Transport. 2007. Archived from the original on 13 May 2010.
  8. ^ "Rail Technical Strategy". Department for Transport. July 2007. 1.2, pp.5–6; Table 4.2, p.46; "New-generation multiple units", p.56. Archived from the original on 6 November 2008.
  9. ^ "Department for Transport – Rolling stock plan". Department for Transport. 30 January 2008. Archived from the original on 5 June 2008.
  10. ^ "Sustainability Summary 2018" (PDF). Crossrail. July 2018.
  11. ^ "Crossrail Rolling Stock (Rolling Stock Technical Fact Sheet)". Crossrail. February 2012.
  12. ^ a b c Justine Greening (28 February 2012). "Crossrail train procurement". Department for Transport.
  13. ^ a b Jim Pickard; Mark Odell (27 February 2012). "Crossrail tender favours UK". The Financial Times.
  14. ^ "Crossrail seeks privately-financed rolling stock". Railway Gazette International. 1 December 2010.
  15. ^ "Crossrail confirms shortlist for rolling stock and depot facilities" (Press release). Crossrail. 30 March 2011.
  16. ^ "Crossrail issues rolling stock shortlist". Railway Gazette International. 30 March 2011.
  17. ^ "Update on Crossrail rolling stock and depot procurement" (Press release). Crossrail. 30 August 2011.
  18. ^ "Crossrail postpones rolling stock tenders because of government review". New Civil Engineer. 30 August 2011.
  19. ^ "Could Crossrail Contract Delay Save UK Jobs?". BskyB. 30 August 2011.
  20. ^ a b Robert Wright; Helen Warrell (30 August 2011). "Alstom quits delayed Crossrail bids". Financial Times.
  21. ^ Dan Milmo (9 October 2011). "Transport for London warns against PFI deal for Crossrail". The Observer.
  22. ^ Mark Leftly (4 December 2011). "It could be back to the drawing board for Crossrail funding". The Independent.
  23. ^ Dan Milmo (11 December 2011). "Minister blocks Boris Johnson's plan to fund £1bn Crossrail project". The Guardian.
  24. ^ "Crossrail issues rolling stock and depot tender". Crossrail. 28 February 2012.
  25. ^ Mark Odell (12 February 2012). "Bombardier warns on Derby plant's future". The Financial Times. Archived from the original on 14 February 2012. (Registration not required for Archived version.)
  26. ^ Mark Leftly (27 February 2012). "Britain must accept Bombardier's contract miss, says German rival". The Independent.
  27. ^ Dan Milmo (26 February 2012). "Why Bombardier's bid for Crossrail means so much to Litchurch Lane". The Observer.
  28. ^ François Shalom (29 February 2012). "Bombardier on $1.6B shortlist". Postmedia Network. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012.
  29. ^ "UK to underwrite funding for Crossrail trains-minister". Reuters. 25 September 2012.
  30. ^ "Crossrail stock procurement to benefit from UK Guarantees scheme". 26 September 2012.
  31. ^ Kuchler, Hannah (5 July 2013). "Siemens pulls out of UK Crossrail battle". Financial Times. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  32. ^ "EIB provides £500m loan for Crossrail trains". Railway Gazette International. 13 December 2013.
  33. ^ "Bombardier wins £1bn Crossrail deal". BBC News. 6 February 2014.
  34. ^ "Derby's Bombardier to build record number of trains in 2019". DerbyshireLive. 24 August 2018. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  35. ^ Clinnick, Richard (12 April 2016). "Testing on Crossrail Aventras begins ahead of 2017 service". Rail. Bauer Media Group. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  36. ^ Clinnick, Richard (29 July 2016). "London's newest train unveiled for Crossrail". Rail. Bauer Media Group. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  37. ^ Clinnick, Richard (27 March 2018). "Five more Aventras ordered for Crossrail". Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  38. ^ "TfL to sell and lease back Elizabeth line fleet to finance new Deep Tube trains". Global Rail News. 15 January 2018. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  39. ^ Clinnick, Richard (22 March 2019). "TfL agrees £1 billion sale and leaseback deal for Elizabeth Line trains". Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  40. ^ BCM Construction - London Liverpool Street Platform Extension and Renovations, retrieved 23 September 2021
  41. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 May 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  42. ^ "TfL confirms details of Reading services". Railway Gazette International. 27 September 2019. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  43. ^ Clinnick, Richard (5 August 2020). "Crossrail's nine-car Class 345s back in traffic". Rail. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  44. ^ Clinnick, Richard (22 December 2015). "A major achievement for Liverpool Street". Rail. No. 789. Bauer Media. pp. 81–85. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  45. ^ Clinnick, Richard (22 December 2015). "Crossrail reveals design of "future-packed" Aventras". Rail. No. 789. Bauer Media. pp. 28–29.
  46. ^ "Crossrail: New trains". Archived from the original on 11 September 2015.
  47. ^ "Crossrail EMUs approved for ETCS operation". Railway Gazette. 12 May 2020. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  48. ^ "Project Update, 30th July 2020; Operational Readiness". Crossrail. 30 July 2020. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  49. ^ "Derby-built trains set to start running on London's new Elizabeth line". DerbyshireLive. 10 May 2022. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 26 May 2022.
  50. ^ "Crossrail trains take shape". Crossrail. Crossrail. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  51. ^ "Rolling Stock Plant". Government of the United Kingdom. Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011. It is likely that these vehicles will also meet the aspirations for the next generation of EMUs and may be similar, but probably not identical, to those proposed for the Thameslink Programme.
  52. ^ "Thameslink EMU invitations to tender issued". Railway Gazette International. London. 27 November 2008.

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