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New electric train fleet unveiled

A new fleet of electric trains has been unveiled by West Midlands Railway at an event in Wolverhampton.

Made up of 48 three-carriage trains, they will boost capacity on the models they replace by a third, with fewer seats and more space for standing.

The first of the Class 730 trains, described by the operator as "state-of-the-art", are expected to enter service on Monday.

They will run routes between Wolverhampton, Walsall and Birmingham.

In the spring, the fleet will also join the Cross City Line, connecting Lichfield, Birmingham, Redditch and Bromsgrove.

"These modern electric trains represent a huge upgrade," said Ian McConnell, managing director of West Midlands Railway.

"Not only are the Class 730s physically longer than the trains they replace, meaning they can carry more people, the carriage interiors have been designed in a spacious, metro-style to maximise space.

"With modern features such as digital information screens, power points at every seat and accessible toilets, I am certain they will prove popular."

Natasha Grice, Director of Transport Focus said it was "encouraging" to see the "significant investment".

She added passengers wanted reliable trains with sufficient capacity accessible to all.

Transport Focus, a watchdog representing passengers, however would not comment on the reduction in seats on the trains.

Built in Derby by Alstom, the trains are part of a £700m investment by West Midlands Railway.

Dominic Booth, chief executive of Transport UK Group, said the electric fleet offered "a better journey experience".

A further 36 five-carriage versions of the fleet, to connect the West Midlands to Liverpool and London, are currently going through testing with London Northwestern Railway.

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