THE first of Translink’s fleet of new trains was officially unveiled this week, along with a promise that passengers on the Larne railway line would be the first to reap its benefits.
The new rolling stock was delivered by ship on Monday from the Spanish train builders CAF to Belfast docks, where Translink took delivery and transported it to their York Road engineering depot.
It will be deployed on the Larne line by the end of the year, with the full fleet of 20 trains being introduced across the rail network in 2012. These Class 4000 trains, together with those brought into service in 2005, will replace all the older trains currently in operation.
Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy said the new trains represented a £114 million commitment by his Department to modernise rail service in the province.
He added: “The first of these ultra modern trains will enter passenger service by the end of the year, offering the public a high standard of performance, comfort, safety and accessibility and I look forward to the full fleet being delivered and introduced to passenger service during 2012.”
Translink’s chief executive, Catherine Mason said that the new trains had some similar features to the current Class 3000 fleet of trains, but there were also a number of improvements.
“Some of these enhancements include the introduction of new multi-purpose areas on board to accommodate parents with buggies or extra bicycles,” she added.
“In addition they will have the latest environmental features and be more fuel-efficient with reduced carbon emissions. These trains are being manufactured to the very latest industry standards. Safety is a top priority and following delivery, each train will be subjected to a rigorous phase of testing by our team of engineers before entering public service.
“With over 60 per cent customer growth since 2002, it is clear that more and more people are now choosing the train as the more attractive and good value travel option. Indeed this year we are on schedule to carry even more customers than ever before. These new trains will allow us to build on this success in order to further contribute sustainably to the social, environmental and economic development of the North.
“This new fleet highlights the government’s continued commitment to providing people with state-of-the-art public transport and I would like to thank the Regional Development Minister and the NI Assembly for their ongoing support.”