The first Class 730 units in operation at London Northwestern Railway

The first Class 730 units in operation at London Northwestern Railway
© London Northwestern Railway

London Northwestern Railway (LNR) has initiated passenger service with the first Class 730 electric train unit on the West Coast Main Line as of November 13.

The trains currently in service belong to the three-car Class 730/0 subclass. These are typically operated in six-carriage formations by coupling two units for enhanced capacity. The Class 730/0s, intended for eventual deployment in the West Midlands, temporarily serve the West Coast Main Line. They will be replaced by five-carriage Class 730/2s next year. The six-carriage Class 730/0s offer a higher total capacity compared to the eight-carriage trains they are supplanting.

Future deployment plans include introducing Class 730/0s on the route between Walsall and Wolverhampton early next year, followed by services on the Cross City Line through Birmingham. The Class 730 fleet will comprise 324 carriages across 82 trains, available in three/six-carriage and five/10-carriage configurations.

John Doughty, LNR Engineering Director, commented on introducing these electric trains, highlighting their longer and more spacious carriages, which are expected to enhance passenger capacity and accessibility. He noted the strategic use of Class 730s to augment capacity on routes to and from London Euston before their deployment in the West Midlands.

Features of the Alstom Aventra units include increased passenger capacity, improved accessibility with spacious interiors, enhanced bicycle storage capacity, clear luggage racks, digital screens providing passenger information, accessible plug and USB sockets at every seat, intelligent energy-saving lighting, and free Wi-Fi.

The deployment of Class 730s on the West Coast Main Line will enable LNR to phase out its five remaining Class 319 units by the end of 2023. The introduction of Class 730s on the Cross City Line next year will result in the current Class 323 trains being transferred to Northern.

This introduction of the Class 730 fleet is part of a £690m investment by West Midlands Trains, the parent company of LNR, in new trains and infrastructure, following the introduction of the Class 196 fleet by LNR's sister company West Midlands Railway last year.

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