British Rail Class 345
|British Rail Class 345 Aventra|
|In service||22 June 2017 – present |
|Built at||Derby Litchurch Lane Works|
|Number built||70 trainsets|
|Formation||7 or 9 carriages per trainset|
|Capacity||450 seated, 4 wheelchair, 1,500 people total|
|Depot(s)||Old Oak Common TMD|
Ilford EMU Depot
|Line(s) served||Great Eastern Main Line|
(London Liverpool Street to Shenfield)
Great Western Main Line
(London Paddington to Heathrow/Reading)
Elizabeth line (2022)
|Train length||205 m (673 ft)|
|Doors||Plug, 6 sets of doors per carriage|
|Maximum speed||90 mph (145 km/h)|
|Weight||264.21 tonnes (260 long tons; 291 short tons)|
|Acceleration||up to 1 m/s2 (3.6 km/(h⋅s); 2.2 mph/s)|
|Electric system(s)||25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead lines|
|Current collection method||Pantograph|
|Safety system(s)||AWS, TPWS, CBTC, ETCS|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The British Rail Class 345 Aventra is a type of electric multiple unit passenger train built by Bombardier Transportation for use on London's Crossrail network. 70 nine-car trains have been manufactured at a cost of over £1 billion, with each train able to reach 140 km/h (90 mph) and 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
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.
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 (673 ft) with a top speed of 145 km/h (90 mph), and an energy efficiency as good as 24 kW·h per train-kilometre. Tests on the finished trains indicate that the energy efficiency target has been exceeded, with Class 345s consuming only 14 kW·h per train-km. The trains will work with platform screen doors in the central tunnel section. The capital value of the contract, which included construction of a depot at Old Oak Common, was estimated at around £1bn, the total value may be greater due to the winning bidder expected to undertake maintenance of the trains for three decades, the estimated lifespan of the fleet.
The procurement programme was launched in December 2010. The package valued at approximately £1bn was for 70 ten-carriage trains with a capacity of about 1,500 passengers and construction of maintenance depots.
Bidding process and funding
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.
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; it also postponed bidding until after a review of governmental procurement processes. Alstom withdrew from the bidding process in August 2011, stating it lacked a suitable developed product. Concerns about taxpayer value for money on PFI funded projects led to Transport for London (TfL) seeking to purchase the trains outright. 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.
In February 2012, an invitation to negotiate was issued, which included clauses on 'responsible procurement' relating to UK supply chain sourcing and training opportunities; the procurement became politicised after Bombardier failed to win the Thameslink rolling stock contract, and said it may 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.
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. 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. Siemens withdrew from the tendering process in July 2013, citing a likelihood of insufficient production capacity in the production timeframe.
Contract award and construction
In December 2013, the European Investment Bank (EIB) agreed to provide loans to Transport for London for the rolling stock of up to £500m. On 6 February 2014, it was announced that Bombardier Transportation had been awarded a £1bn contract to supply 65 trains, with an option for 18 more. The trains were constructed at Bombardier's Derby Litchurch Lane Works, with testing scheduled to begin in May 2016. On 29 July 2016, the first completed train was unveiled by Bombardier and Transport for London at Derby Litchurch Lane.
In March 2018, an option for five more units was exercised taking the order to 70 units.
Sale and leaseback
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. This £1bn, 20 year sale and leaseback deal was agreed in March 2019.
The first train entered service on 22 June 2017 on the eastern TfL Rail route between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield as a seven-carriage unit. The complete nine-car sets cannot be accommodated at the Liverpool Street termini until platforms are lengthened.
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. Trains on the western route were initially delivered in seven-car formation, however these are being progressively converted into full 9 car units.
The new trains will replace the Class 315s presently used on TfL Rail services to Shenfield, and the Class 387s of Great Western Railway and Class 360 of Heathrow Connect on services to Reading and Heathrow respectively. The trains have free Wi-Fi and 4G available, as well as being fully accessible for wheelchair users.
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. On 30 July 2020, the Class 345s began operation to and from Heathrow.
|Class||Operator||No. Built||Year Built||Cars per Set||Unit nos.|
|345||TfL Rail||70||2015–19||7 or 9||345001–070|
- British Rail Class 700 – contemporary rolling stock procured from Siemens for the Thameslink Programme, to a broadly similar specification.
- British Rail Class 710, a similar train used on London Overground
- Aventra, a family of Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) trains built by Bombardier Transportation
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- Clinnick, Richard (12 April 2016). "Testing on Crossrail Aventras begins ahead of 2017 service". Rail. Bauer Media Group. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
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- "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.
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- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 May 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "TfL confirms details of Reading services". Railway Gazette International. 27 September 2019. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
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- Clinnick, Richard (22 December 2015). "A major achievement for Liverpool Street". Rail. No. 789. Bauer Media. pp. 81–85. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
- Clinnick, Richard (22 December 2015). "Crossrail reveals design of "future-packed" Aventras". Rail. No. 789. Bauer Media. pp. 28–29.
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- "Crossrail EMUs approved for ETCS operation". Railway Gazette. 12 May 2020. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
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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.
- "Thameslink EMU invitations to tender issued". Railway Gazette International. London. 27 November 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to British Rail Class 345.|
- "Rolling Stock Plan : Crossrail". www.dft.gov.uk. Department for Transport. Archived from the original on 5 May 2011.
- Trains Information from crossrail.co.uk
- Technical drawings
- Data sheet