British Rail Class 730

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British Rail Class 730
Aventra
A Class 730 departing Aston in 2024
Class 730 West Midlands Railway interior
Stock typeElectric multiple unit
In service13 November 2023 - present
Manufacturer
Built atDerby Litchurch Lane Works
Family nameAventra
Replaced
Constructed2020–present
Formation
  • 3 cars per 730/0 unit:
  • DM1-PMLW-DM2[1]
  • 5 cars per 730/2 unit:
  • DM-M1L-PMLW-M2L-DMC[2]
Diagram
  • 730/0 units:[1]
  • DM vehicles: EL249
  • PMLW vehicles: ER250
  • 730/2 units:[2]
  • DM vehicles: EL251
  • M1L vehicles: ER256
  • PMLW vehicles: ER255
  • M2L vehicles: ER254
  • DMC vehicles: EA316
Capacity
  • 3-car: 201 seats[3]
  • 5-car: 406 seats[4]
OwnersCorelink Rail[5]
Operators
Depots
Lines served
Specifications
Doors
  • Double-leaf sliding plug
  • (2 per side per car)
Maximum speed
  • 3-car:
  • 90 mph (145 km/h)
  • 5-car:
  • 110 mph (180 km/h)
Electric system(s)25 kV 50 Hz AC overhead
Current collector(s)Pantograph
BogiesBombardier Flexx-Eco
Safety system(s)
Coupling systemDellner
Multiple working
  • Within class;
  • 730/0: max. 3 units[8]
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge

The British Rail Class 730 Aventra is a type of electric multiple unit passenger train built by Alstom for West Midlands Trains. Two separate batches of the fleet are being built; 48 three-car units and 36 five-car units.

History[edit]

Class 730 unit alongside two Class 323 units at Soho Depot.

In October 2017, West Midlands Trains were awarded the franchise to operate local rail services around Birmingham and the West Midlands, suburban services to London Euston, and long-distance inter-urban services operating from both Euston and Birmingham New Street.[9] At the time the franchise was awarded, the company announced that it would procure more than 100 new trains at a cost of £680m[10] to replace older rolling stock and enhance its fleet. Of these, a total of 81 EMUs were ordered from Bombardier Transportation from its Aventra product range.[11] They are being built at Derby Litchurch Lane Works.[12] The first completed train was unveiled in September 2020.[10]

In 2022 the order was amended to increase the proportion of three-car units in the fleet, which will result in the delivery of 48 three-car units and 36 five-car units instead of the original plan for 36 three-car units, Class 730/0, and 45 five-car units, Class 730/1 and Class 730/2 – a total of 324 vehicles in 84 units.[13][4]

Testing and introduction into service[edit]

London Northwestern Railway Class 730/2 undergoing testing at Nuneaton

The Class 730 trains entered service on 13 November 2023[14] and were the second new fleet to be introduced by West Midlands Trains, following the Class 196 which entered service on 17 October 2022.[15]

The introduction of the 730s on the Cross-City line in 2024 will allow the Class 323s to be withdrawn,[16] 17 of which will be cascaded to Northern Trains.[17] The Class 730 will also allow for the withdrawal of the Class 350/2 units on the West Midlands Trains network.

The Class 730 was tested in Velim in the Czech Republic, as well as in the UK.[18] Testing of Class 730 units on the West Midlands Trains network began in March 2021,[19] and in February 2022 the then full order of 36 Class 730/0 units received authorisation for service from the Office of Rail and Road.[1]

The 3-car Class 730 units are currently being used on West Coast Main Line services out of London. This allowed for the withdrawal of Class 319s.[20] The first 3-car Class 730 entered passenger service on the Wolverhampton-Birmingham-Walsall services in February 2024,[21] with the units being introduced on Cross-City Line services in the Spring.[3][14][22][23] The first pair of Class 730s units entered service on the Cross-City Line on 15 April 2024.[24] The 3-car 730/0s will be maintained at Soho Depot in Birmingham which is the home depot of the Class 323s and the 5-car 730/2s will be maintained at Bletchley Depot in Milton Keynes.

Fleet[edit]

The two separate batches are being constructed to operate at different maximum speeds to suit different uses. The 3-car Class 730/0 trains—designed for Cross-City Line and Birmingham local services—will operate at up to 90 mph (145 km/h)[10] and will double capacity on the Cross-City Line. The 5-car Class 730/2 trains will operate on outer suburban and long-distance LNR services and will operate at up to 110 mph (177 km/h).[10][12][25]

Subclass Operator Qty.[5] Year built Cars per unit Unit nos.
730/0 London Northwestern Railway
West Midlands Railway
48 2020–pres. 3 730001–730048
730/2 London Northwestern Railway 36 5 730201-730236[26]

Illustration[edit]

Class 730 3-car unit

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Fletcher, S. (2 February 2022). "The Railways (Interoperability) Regulations 2011, as amended – Authorisation of Class 730/0 – Unit numbers (inclusive) 730001 to 730036" (PDF). Letter to P. Carter (Bombardier Transportation UK Ltd d.b.a Alstom). London: Office of Rail and Road. UK/51/2022/0004. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 February 2022.
  2. ^ a b Hines, R. (29 January 2024). "The Railways (Interoperability) Regulations 2011, as amended – Authorisation of Aventra CL730/0 and CL730/2 for single and multiple unit operation" (PDF). Letter to P. Carter (Bombardier Transportation UK Ltd d.b.a Alstom). London: Office of Rail and Road. Archived (PDF) from the original on 29 March 2024.
  3. ^ a b "New era of rail travel to begin as West Midlands Railway unveils electric train fleet". West Midlands Railway. 8 February 2024. Retrieved 8 February 2024.
  4. ^ a b "Class 730 fact sheet". Birmingham: West Midlands Trains. 7 June 2023. Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  5. ^ a b "Autumn start for Class 730/0s on London Euston diagrams". Rail Express. No. 327. August 2023. p. 10.
  6. ^ "New Electric Train Stabling Sidings". West Midlands Railway. 29 January 2020. Retrieved 18 January 2022.
  7. ^ "West Midlands Trains Launches CAF '196'". Modern Railways. No. 890. Stamford: Key Publishing. November 2022. pp. 12–13. ISSN 0026-8356.
  8. ^ Fletcher, S. (18 November 2022). "The Railways (Interoperability) Regulations 2011, as amended – Authorisation of Aventra Cl730/0 upgrade for multiple unit operation (3x Cl730/0), unit numbers (inclusive) 730001–730048" (PDF). Letter to P. Carter (Bombardier Transportation UK Ltd d.b.a Alstom). London: Office of Rail and Road. UK/51/2022/0010. Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 January 2023.
  9. ^ Jones, T. (17 October 2017). "Over 100 new trains West Midlands trains – with wi-fi and speeds up to 110mph". Birmingham Post. Trinity Mirror Midlands. Archived from the original on 30 December 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d "Class 730 EMU for Birmingham's Cross-City Line revealed". Rail Business UK. Sutton: DVV Media International. 9 September 2020. Archived from the original on 27 September 2020.
  11. ^ "Bombardier and CAF win West Midlands train contracts". Railway Gazette International. Sutton: DVV Media International. 17 October 2017. Archived from the original on 20 November 2017.
  12. ^ a b Fender, K.; Sheratt, P. (June 2018). "West Midlands prepares for new fleets". Modern Railways. Vol. 75, no. 837. Stamford: Key Publishing. p. 78. ISSN 0026-8356.
  13. ^ "West Midlands Trains launches CAF '196s'". Modern Railways. Stamford: Key Publishing. 14 October 2022. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  14. ^ a b @LNRailway (13 November 2023). "☀️ Happy Monday, all - Serenity & Lauren here until 7pm today.
    🥳 It's an exciting day today... Our BRAND NEW 730's are making their official debut!
    🌧️ Weather is wet & miserable today, so please take extra care when boarding & alighting your train.
    📸 Down on the Stour"
    (Tweet). Retrieved 13 November 2023 – via Twitter.
  15. ^ "New West Midlands Railway fleet enters passenger service". Birmingham: West Midlands Trains. 17 October 2022. Retrieved 17 October 2022.
  16. ^ "Class 730 Fleet". West Midlands Railway. Birmingham: West Midlands Trains. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  17. ^ "Class 323 EMUs to remain in traffic with Northern". Rail Magazine. No. 886. Peterborough: Bauer Consumer Media. 28 August 2019. p. 30. ISSN 0953-4563.
  18. ^ "Aventra for WMT on Test at Velim". Railvolution. Praha: Railway Builder s.r.o. 13 August 2020. Archived from the original on 22 January 2021.
  19. ^ "New 'Aventra' train pays a visit to Redditch as it builds up the miles". Redditch Standard. Wolverhampton: Bullivant Media. 19 March 2021. Archived from the original on 24 June 2021.
  20. ^ "West Mids '730s' to debut out of Euston". Modern Railways. No. 899. Stamford: Key Publishing. October 2022. p. 88. ISSN 0026-8356.
  21. ^ Thompson, Victoria (13 February 2023). "New electric trains begin operating in West Midlands". Rail Advent. Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  22. ^ "West Midlands Trains turns back the clock with retro repaint for Class 323". Today's Railways UK. No. 252. Sheffield: Platform 5 Publishing. February 2023. p. 55. ISSN 1475-9713.
  23. ^ "Class 730 fact sheet". West Midlands Railway. Retrieved 2 January 2024.
  24. ^ "West Midlands Railway: New trains enter service on Birmingham's iconic Cross City Line". West Midlands Railway. 15 April 2024. Retrieved 15 April 2024.
  25. ^ "WMT targets autumn debut for '730s'". Modern Railways. No. 899. July 2023. p. 100. ISSN 0026-8356.
  26. ^ "Two more 730s to Doncaster". Today's Railways UK. No. 260. October 2023. p. 62.