Rail passengers in the North East will soon be travelling on brand new trains thanks to a multi-million pound investment from Northern Rail.
The operator, which provides rail services for Sunderland and Hartlepool, is currently working to modernise its services - with the first completed new train due off the production line in a matter of weeks.
The train, an electric unit Class 331, was presented to Northern at a special event hosted by manufacturer CAF last week.
The 98 new units, part of a multi-million pound modernisation of Northern’s stock, will start to be introduced on the network from December this year.
David Brown, managing director at Northern, said: “This is a landmark moment for Northern and for rail travel in the north of England.
“We are introducing 98 new electric and diesel trains which will significantly improve journeys and the travel experience for our customers across the region.
“As well as looking like 21st Century trains, our new state-of-the-art units will be capable of travelling at 100mph, will have wifi, plug sockets at every seat, will be air conditioned and fully accessible.”
Once complete the train, along with other finished units, will soon head to Velim in the Czech Republic for testing before being brought into the UK for further tests.
These tests will take place during the spring and summer with the first trains scheduled to carry passengers in time for Christmas 2018.
David added: “Our modernisation programme is gathering pace and the promises we made at the start of the franchise are really taking shape.
“Alongside our new trains we have delivered more than 70 refurbished trains which are already helping customers go about their daily lives with greater reliability and comfort.
“We have also started a significant station improvement scheme which has already seen more than 100 stations upgraded.
"This work will continue for the next 18 months as we further improve waiting areas, seating, lighting and customer information.
“By 2020 we will also be operating an extra 2,000 services every week meaning our customers will not only have better trains and stations, they will also have improved options to get them to where they need to be.”