People living in the Maesteg valley are set to benefit from brand new trains after their introduction this week (19 Feb).
Assembled in Wales, the Class 197 fleet have been cleared to operate on the Maesteg line down into Bridgend and across to Cheltenham Spa via Cardiff, Newport and Chepstow.

The trains are part of an £800 million investment by Transport for Wales to upgrade rolling stock.

Chief Customer and Culture Officer Marie Daly said the trains would offer a “vastly improved customer experience”.

She said: “These brand-new trains offer greater capacity and reliability and will be a marked improvement on what customers have had before.

“The Maesteg line is a key part of our network so I’m delighted that the people along the route will be able to travel on our brand-new trains and enjoy the benefits they bring.

“Our Maesteg services run through Cardiff Central and across to Cheltenham Spa, so getting these new trains on the route is another important milestone as we continue with our vision to create customer focused services and to encourage people to choose sustainable travel options.

“This will be a vastly improved customer experience and I look forward to seeing customers onboard soon.”

The Class 197 fleet began it’s roll out last year, with 77 ordered via Spanish manufacturer CAF, who have set up a factory in Newport to assemble their UK trains.

The Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for Transport, Lee Waters said: “This is great news. Change has been a long time coming, but communities across Wales are now benefitting from our £800m investment in new rolling stock.

“We want to make it easier for people to choose rail and these brand new, made in Wales, trains are modern and comfortable, providing a much-improved experience for passengers travelling to and from Maesteg.

They will become the backbone of the mainline fleet and can run in formations between 2 and 6 carriages.

Following the introduction to Maesteg and Cheltenham, we expect the trains to be launched on the Ebbw Vale line and the Pembroke Dock line in time for the summer and on the Cambrian line in 2025.

As more arrive they will continue to replace the older trains, but customers may see both operating as our transition continues.