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SWT completes Class 456 refurbishment with last of 48 carriages

The £65m South West Trains (SWT) roll-out of 108 new carriages has hit a significant milestone as the final refurbished Class 456 train was delivered yesterday (16 November).

Porterbrook, through its contractor Knorr-Bremse RailServices (KBRS), has now refurbished and delivered 24 Class 456 units, or 48 carriages, for services to Guildford, Woking, Dorking and Hampton Court.

Christian Roth, SWT engineering director, said: “The introduction of 108 additional and refurbished train carriages is good news for passengers travelling on one of the country’s busiest railways.

“As well as the space for additional passengers, these carriages have much better facilities including wider doors, new seats and new floors.”

The Class 456s were previously used by Southern but have been fully renovated and now look similar to SWT’s Class 455 units.

The trains continue to be owned by Porterbrook, with refurbishment work taking place at Wabtec’s depots in Doncaster and Loughborough by KBRS.

Porterbrook’s commercial director, Olivier Andre, said: “The delivery of the first phase of the HLOS [High Level Output Specification] programme through the refurbishment of the 48 Class 456 carriages demonstrates once again that, working in partnership with SWT and our supply chain, the passengers can directly benefit from well-targeted investments in rolling stock and deliver true value for money for the industry.”

In August, RTM reported the news that the roll-out of the new carriages was three-quarters complete, meaning 81 extra carriages were already running on the network and already providing space for more than 17,000 extra passengers during peak time.

The refurbishment of the remaining Class 458/5 units, some of which are already running on the Windsor Line, is expected to be completed early next year.

RTM visited the Doncaster depot in April 2013 to see the refurbishment and conversion of the first 60 trains in the 108-carriage deal. That complex project involved combining elements of old Gatwick Express Class 460s with 120 of SWT’s Class 458 carriages, to create 36 five-car Class 458/5 sets, coupled to form 10-car services.

On Sunday 8 November, SWT operated its last Class 458/0 service, with the last of those units now to be sent to Doncaster themselves as part of the 458/5 modification project.

SWT’s overall upgrades are part of the biggest investment made to the network since in the 1930s, with the new trains freeing up 30% more space for passengers during the busiest times of the day.

Part of this deal also comprises a £210m order for 150 new Class 707 Desiro carriages manufactured by Siemens and leased from Angel Trains.


Lutz   18/11/2015 at 00:39

Unfortunately, it is not enough. Nothing done yet with the most congested lines, apart extend the platforms. Today, passengers were 'three cars deep' on the platforms - having to wait for the third train before they could get on - due to more failed stock. The poor reliability of the existing stock, combined with daily signalling and bottlenecks at Wimbledon, means every day on SWT is a 'guess when the train will turn up. That is also before the major works on Waterloo expansion, signalling upgrades, and CRX2 get started.

Andrew Gwilt   19/11/2015 at 00:27

All 24x Class 456's are now been refurbished and are they are in service that they operate Inner-Suburban and Outer-Suburban Metro services in Southwest London, Surrey and are coupled with Class 455's being used as 6-car, 8-car, 10-car and 12-car formation on those routes with Class 456's that are formed as usual 2-car but also 4-car, 6-car and 8-car on some services during off peak rush hour which some are formed as 4-car, 6-car, 8-car and sometimes 10-car and 12-car Class 456 trains.

Jak Jaye   20/11/2015 at 15:38

Another waste waste of money,build more trains and more people use them,same as the roads its a depressing merry go round

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