THE latest model of Avanti West Coast train visited the North Wales coastline for the first time last week as it made a journey to Llandudno Junction.

Avanti’s new class 805 bi-mode units made a Crewe to Llandudno Junction return trip on Wednesday, July 26.

The trains - capable of running on both electric and diesel power - also made stops at Chester, Rhyl and Prestatyn enroute.

Pictured above are units 805001 and 805003 at Llandudno Junction railway station, as captured by trainspotter Garry Stroud.


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Further trips to Chester and North Wales are planned as the engineers check the fleet’s compatibility with the route and its whole infrastructure, including to the port terminus of Caergybi/Holyhead.

Part of this testing was to ensure the bilingual passenger information systems are displaying the correct information.

Built by Hitachi Rail, and based on the Hitachi A-train design, 13 units are being built to replace Voyager trains on services between London Euston and stations on the North Wales Coast and Shrewsbury lines.

North Wales Pioneer: The trains passing through Abergele and Pensarn during its test rideThe trains passing through Abergele and Pensarn during its test ride (Image: Terry Eyres)

Their introduction, a £350million project, will stop long-distance diesel working on electrified routes.

All 13 units, which will be based Alstom’s Oxley depot in Wolverhampton, are scheduled to be in operation later this year, with each having a capacity of 301 seats.

Passenger facilities will include free Wi-Fi, wireless charging for electronic devices, and real-time passenger information system that can advise of connecting rail services.

Static testing started in February 2022, before dynamic testing followed in November.

North Wales Pioneer: The trains arriving at Llandudno Junction railway station on July 26The trains arriving at Llandudno Junction railway station on July 26 (Image: Garry Stroud)

Mainline testing began in February of this year.

Phil Cameron, commercial projects director at First Rail, said that this testing “marked a major milestone for the new fleet with its first test run to Llandudno Junction”.

He added: “This will help provide vital information on the route, and the fleet’s performance, to ensure the new trains are fully prepared for when they enter into service next year.

“Our investment in the new fleet will help raise the bar for rail travellers in North Wales and is part of our wider commitment to transform the customer experience and a more sustainable operation.”