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New trains capable of carrying up to 1,500 passengers

TfL Elizabeth line launch week images_344106

State-of-the-art trains, purpose-built by Bombardier (now Alstom) in Derby serve the Elizabeth line.

The Elizabeth line trains are improving travel across London for millions of Londoners and visitors to the city. The fleet of 70, Class 345 trains operates across the entire Elizabeth line providing benefits to passengers on the west from Paddington to Reading and Heathrow, to the east from Shenfield to Liverpool Street and in the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood. Later in 2022 services from the east and west will connect with the central stations enabling services from Reading and Heathrow to Abbey Wood, and from Shenfield to Paddington. 


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Passenger experience benefits

  • Nine fully interconnected, walk-through carriages capable of carrying up to 1,500 passengers
  • Comfortable journeys with temperature-controlled air-conditioning
  • Carriages fitted with intelligent LED lighting with an ambient dimming feature
  • Real-time travel information in each carriage for easy onward journey planning
  • Four dedicated wheelchair spaces as well as separate multi-use spaces for buggies and luggage
  • Quicker and easier boarding and alighting via three sets of double doors on each carriage and clear areas around the doors.
  • A mixture of metro-style and bay seating provides choice and comfort for passengers
  • CCTV for passenger security
  • Wi-Fi on the trains and platforms
  • Carefully selected interior design and colour palette providing an accessible and welcoming environment - darker floors and natural finishes that wear in, and not wear out, ensuring they retain their high-quality feel for years to come
  • Light coloured ceilings maximise the feeling of height and openness inside the trains

Energy efficiency benefits

  • Energy-efficient management systems include regenerative braking which uses up to 30% less energy
  • Constructed with strong but lightweight materials such as aluminium for the body shell leading to lighter trains
  • An aerodynamic shape that reduces drag even in tunnels
  • Carriage insulation to reduce heat loss
  • Energy-efficient gearboxes and drives reduce the amount of energy used by the train as it accelerates and decelerates
  • Driver Advisory Systems (DAS) guides the driver to use optimal energy-efficient driving techniques such as the optimum speed and acceleration required to meet the timetable while minimising energy use
  • Capable of running up to 90 mph on outer sections
  • Tunnelled section designed with a gradient up to station platforms, and down from platforms, leading to less energy required for braking

Future proofing

  • Stations are designed to accommodate trains with up to two additional carriages in the future without major modification
  • The signalling system has the potential capacity to accommodate 30 trains per hour without major modification


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Working in conjunction with the team at Transport for London, Bombardier (now Alstom) led the design and build of the 70, nine-carriage, over 200-metre-long trains that are a key element of the Elizabeth line.

The trains are state-of-the-art and based on Alstom’s latest generation Aventra train, which was designed in the UK. The Class 345 trains are 205 metres long, around the length of two full-sized Premier League football pitches, or approximately 18 new Routemaster buses.

The trains were built by Alstom in Derby. At the time of the contract award, the Alstom factory in Derby was the only site in the UK to design, engineer and manufacture new trains. Alstom has delivered many of the newer trains that operate in and around London, providing 800 trains that serve nine key routes. These include new S Stock Tube trains for the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, and new trains for the London Overground. Alstom also provides maintenance support for many of these trains with teams based in and around London.

Securing the contract for the Elizabeth line trains enabled Alstom to invest in cutting-edge technology in order to put the new fleet of trains through their paces. Alstom invested £1.6m in the 'iron bird' integration test facility, inspired by the aviation industry, which enabled advanced pre-production testing to take place in a simulated environment. This testing facility helps make the next generation of rolling stock safer, more reliable and improves performance. It was the first time that such equipment had been used to test trains in the UK.

The new trains built by Alstom helped to support 760 UK jobs and 80 apprenticeships.


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Alstom delivered a front carriage of a test train to the Rail Tec Arsenal test centre in Vienna for three weeks of testing in a number of weather conditions, with temperatures ranging from -25ºC up to +40ºC. The facility in Vienna is the only place in Europe that can carry out this level of testing on trains.

The heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, windscreen wipers and demister, train horns and the traction motors all went through intense simulations of hot, cold, windy and foggy weather to check that they can still function in all weather conditions the train may face when operating through London and beyond.

Read more about the all-weather testing in the press release here.

In Derby, the new trains were subjected to a rigorous testing regime including testing on a dedicated test track in Melton Mowbray before being delivered to London to ensure reliability.

The train is the first one in mainline passenger service to take advantage of changes announced to train standards by the RSSB. The trains are fitted with the latest headlights to ensure good visibility for oncoming trains and therefore do not require a yellow front end.


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To accommodate the new Class 345 trains, surface stations across the route were upgraded with longer platforms. The new trains were introduced in a phased approach:

  • May 2015: Introduction of TfL Rail services Liverpool Street to Shenfield, operated by MTR-Elizabeth Line.
  • June 2017: Introduction of new Class 345 trains between Liverpool Street to Shenfield
  • May 2018: Introduction of TfL Rail services between Paddington & Heathrow (taking over Heathrow Connect) and the introduction of the new Class 345 trains between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington
  • Dec 2019: Introduction of TfL Rail services between Paddington and Reading and the introduction of the new Class 345 trains to Reading
  • July 2020: First Class 345 services to Heathrow
  • Easter 2021: Liverpool Street mainline platforms extended to accommodate nine-carriage Class 345 trains.
  • Autumn 2021: Ongoing transition of Class 345 trains from seven to nine carriages from Autumn 2021 into 2022. Delivery of the final train took place in December 2021.
  • May 2022: Opening of the Elizabeth line with services between stations from Paddington to Abbey Wood and re-branding of TfL Rail to the Elizabeth line.

Read more about the introduction of Class 345 services on our Phased Opening page.


The Elizabeth line consists of three sections - the newly built central section, and the east and west surface sections. Part of the complexity of the Elizabeth line, and the reason that testing and systems integration is a very important part of the process is that each of the three sections has a different signalling system. All three signalling systems need to successfully work together, and the Class 345 trains need to smoothly transition from one to another whilst the trains are moving across London.

Learn more about signalling on the Elizabeth line here.