Converted Class 769s set for Northern debut in New Year

TESTING of Class 769 ‘Flex’ bi-mode trains converted from former Thameslink Class 319s has now reached an advanced stage, with production of sets for Northern, Transport for Wales and GWR set to ramp up over the coming months.

The two pre-production sets – Nos. 769434 and 769456 – have been undergoing dynamic testing at the Great Central Railway for several weeks, including running at up to 75mph and multiple working in various scenarios to prove the concept.

‘Flex’ Class 769 No. 769434 takes the curve at Kinchley Lane during a test run on November 5. BEN JONES

Arriva Rail North is expected to take delivery of ‘Train 3’, the first production set, in January. The fourth and fifth trains are already at Brush in Loughborough for conversion and will shortly be joined by the sixth of the planned eight sets. Once their testing is complete, Nos. 769434/456 will return to Northern for refurbishment and PRM accessibility modifications.

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The other six units being converted (Nos. 319424/431/ 442/448/ 450/458) have already received these upgrades.

Northern plans to deploy its ‘769s’ to replace Class 142s and 150s on a cyclical diagram covering Alderley Edge to Wigan and North Western to Stalybridge stopping services, which includes electrified and non-electrified routes around Manchester.

Read more in the December issue of The RM – on sale now!

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Sam Hewitt