STATE-OF-THE-ART trains for the newly-awarded Wales and Borders rail franchise look set to be built in Newport, after manufacturer CAF was selected as the preferred bidder by KeolisAmey.

The announcement comes after KeolisAmey was awarded the contract by the Welsh Government to run the 15-year Wales and Borders rail franchise from October 2018.

Spanish-based CAF is in final negotiations with KeolisAmey to supply and maintain 44 two-car and 26 three-car diesel multiple units, which will be in service by September 2022 and a further seven two-car units to be delivered by September 2024.

The high performance DMU’s are based on the UK Civity platform, designed for commuter and regional services, featuring the latest safety technology combined with exacting interior design specifications for customer comfort, including air conditioning and Wi-Fi.

The units will be built at CAF's new facility at the Celtic Business Park site in Newport, which is scheduled for completion in Autumn 2018.

Richard Garner, CAF's UK director, said: "We are delighted to have been selected by KeolisAmey as the preferred bidder to supply trains for the Wales and Borders rail franchise.

"We look forward to working with KeolisAmey and playing our part in delivering its commitment to transform the railway and support the growth of the local economy in Newport and Wales. Our high-quality, reliable and comfortable trains will enhance customer experience across this important rail network."

Colin Lea, mobilisation director, KeolisAmey Wales Cymru, said: “We would like to thank CAF for working collaboratively with us to design trains, which, in line with KeolisAmey values, put the passenger needs at their heart, with state-of-the-art passenger features, ample legroom, and seats aligned with windows to enjoy the wonderful scenery of the routes they will serve.

“These new trains, which will set a new standard of travel comfort and accessibility for the next decade, will be made for Wales and by Wales as they will be assembled in a new CAF factory in Newport, creating hundreds of new jobs.”

Economy Secretary, Ken Skates said: “Our £5bn investment in the new rail service will deliver not only vastly improved train services but also very real job opportunities and economic benefits that will be felt in communities right across Wales.

“CAF’s success as the preferred bidder to supply these diesel multiple units really is great news and will mean that that the majority of the new trains running in our transformed rail service will genuinely be ‘Made in Wales’ with the economic benefits of their production being retained and enjoyed locally.”

The Newport facility is a fundamental part of CAF’s plans to grow its business in the UK.

The factory will create 300 new jobs and boost the wider UK rail industry supply chain as the company plans to develop a 'cluster' of local and national companies to supply components for the manufacture of its trains.

CAF is investing £30m to get the new factory up and running and will receive significant grant support from the Welsh Government’s Inward Investment Programme.