The Class 345 Aventra is the latest rolling stock for the future Crossrail Elizabeth Line. Despite the ongoing delays to the actual railway line running under London crossing from east to west, the Class 345 Aventra trains have already arrived, and are now in service on the TfL Rail services on the Liverpool Street – Shenfield section on the Great Eastern Main Line and Paddington – Hayes & Harlington on the former Heathrow Connect route. The TfL Rail service is operated by MTR Crossrail, a wholly owned subsidiary of MTR Corporation under contract to Transport for London (TfL).
Checking for my platform at London Paddington Railway Station.
Despite the departure board saying “Pls wait”, I think I know where my train will be at.
Heading to Platform 11 for the TfL Rail service to Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow Airport.
Touching into the system with my Oyster card.
A GWR Class 387 Electrostar at Platform 12.
The waiting time was a ittle bit long as I let an earlier TfL Rail train for Heathrow go first since it was operated by the Class 360 Desiro. The Class 345 Aventra are currently unable to go to Heathrow yet due to signalling interference issues, so they just run till Hayes & Harlington to supplement services on the line.
The station sign of London Paddington.
And here comes the Class 345 Aventra.
The Class 345 Aventra arriving at Paddington from Hayes.
Passengers disembarking from the train at Paddington.
There are 3 types of seating layouts on the Class 345 Aventra.
The end cars have a standard Overground-like longitudinal layout.
The middle cars, however, are of a better mix of seats with both longitudinal seats near the doors and facing bays of seats towards the center of the car.
Tip-up seats can also be found by the gangways.
The gangway of the Class 345 Aventra.
The interior of the mixed seating on the Class 345 Aventra.
The bay is definitely my first choice for a seat here, especially for longer journeys once the Crossrail Elizabeth Line is in operation.
There is another version of longitudinal seats towards the center part of the train with space for passengers in wheelchairs.
A dedicated space is available for wheelchair users, with tip-up seats installed for more seating in the case of an absence of a wheelchair.
There are additional glass panels presumably for a backing the safety of wheelchair users, but I find that it hinders the wheelchair access from the door instead.
The very clear information screens on board.
The line information only shows the section that the train is currently on, though I would prefer it to have a separate line to show the train only running to Hayes and that a change is required for passengers to Heathrow.
The face of the Class 345 Aventra with the headlights on. This is the first British Rail train to run without yellow front ends since steam locomotives, due to the brighter modern headlights making it sufficiently visible.
The train destination signs surprisingly shows quite a lot of information, with the standard destination station, but also the train reporting number of 9T30 which a lot of companies do not provide and the next stopping station.
The TfL Rail roundel.
Push the button to open doors.
I think this bay of seats will be really popular once the Crossrail Elizabeth Line is in service.
The view of the train from my seat.
Departing from London Paddington.
Running beside the Circle Line and Hammersmith & City Line.
Passing by Royal Oak station.
Passing by the junction to the future Crossrail underground line.
The information screen changes to route information as the train travels on.
Passing by Old Oak Common Depot.
Lots of Class 345 Aventras here awaiting services through London.
Passing by a TfL Rail Class 360 Desiro stabling in Old Oak Common Depot.
Making a brief stop at Acton Main Line with a freight train passing through.
The new rubbery hand grips on the Class 345 Aventra.
The next station is Ealing Broadway.
Making a brief stop at Ealing Broadway.
Making a brief stop at West Ealing, with the Greenford Line train ready for departure.
The junction to the Greenford Line after West Ealing.
A GWR Class 165 Turbo heading onto the Greenford Line.
Passing by Plasser UK Works on the wye junction to the Greenford Line.
On my first journey with the new Oyster card, I was already met by TfL’s revenue protection inspectors. They were pretty strict, even asking me to produce my digital 26-30 Railcard to confirm that the Oyster card truly belongs to me.
Making a brief stop at Southall. Hayes & Harlington trains skip Hanwell.
The next station is Hayes & Harlington.
Crossing over to Platform 5, the new bay platform to accommodate the Class 345 Aventra short-working services.
The current end of the line for the Class 345 Aventra as shown on the information screens.
Pulling into Hayes & Harlington.
The journey from London Paddington to Hayes & Harlington took 26 minutes.
The car and train specifications as shown by the gangways.
Overall, a great first ride on the new Class 345 Aventra with comfortable seats and a smooth, quiet ride. Hopefully, this will go into Heathrow soon, with the replacement of Heathrow Express trains to the Class 387 Electrostar by the end of 2019, hopefully also resolving the signalling issues, and to offer more frequent stopping services connecting the airport with the Great Western Main Line.