Purple Train: A Look At Crossrail’s Rolling Stock


We last looked at Crossrail’s rolling stock when the contract was awarded to Bombardier. Now TfL have made the first digital images of their new trains available to the public.

Bombardier won the contract, which is for both the supply of the 66 trains required and the running of Old Oak Common maintenance depot, back in February 2014. The trains themselves (which will be designated class 345) will be the first of Bombardier’s new Aventra EMUs, built in Derby and tested in Melton Mowbray.


Crossrail rolling stock under construction in Derby

They won’t be the only Aventras to eventually run in London, however. Not only do TfL have an option for another 17, but a variant of the stock has also been ordered for London Overground. There, 45 units will replace the 315s, 317s and 172s currently found on the Lea Valley and Gospel Oak – Barking lines, as well as the 378s on the Watford DC line.


External view of the 345


A 345 passing through the core

Crossrail’s units will be nine cars in length and over 200m long, although the first units to enter service will actually be a seven car variant operating on the Liverpool Street – Shenfield line from May 2017 onwards. Although currently branded as ‘TfL Rail’, this line is actually part of the Crossrail operating franchise.

Interior walk-through

Interior view, looking down the carriages

It remains likely that May 2017 and the introduction of these trains will mark the point at which ‘TfL Rail’ will be dropped as an operating brand and ‘Crossrail’ used instead.


Door space, viewed from the inside

That May launch date for the new rolling stock is the same one as was first mentioned back in 2014. Such dates are always worth watching for subtle slippage between press releases, and it’s pleasing to see that this hasn’t changed, suggesting things are still on track.

Interior bay seats

Bay seating viewed from the door space.

As the mockups show, the trains will feature walk-through carriages and a mix of longitudinal and transverse seating.

They also nicely highlight that you can think creatively about colour in train design without having to compromise on accessibility (which is actually about contrast). Crossrail’s trains are clearly intended to take its purple Roundel and branding, and run with it.


Bay seating and the wheelchair space.

According to the accompanying press notes both free wifi and 4G services will be delivered on board, as will multiple wheelchair and luggage spaces.

You can also find a flythrough video below.

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.