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Eversholt previews £60m Class 321 overhaul

Eversholt Rail has unveiled details of the Class 321 ‘Renatus’ fleet update for East Anglia routes, as part of a £60m upgrade.

The refurbishment of the 30 EMUs is being delivered by Wabtec Rail, with the first unit due into works next month at its dedicated new facility at Doncaster.

Ray Betler, president and CEO of Wabtec, said the corporation looks forward to “unveiling the new multi-million pound production facility” showcasing how “strong collaboration” between rail organisations delivers “value for all stakeholders”.

The first upgraded Renatus train will enter service early next year, with a total of 10 units expected to be delivered into service with Abellio Greater Anglia by October 2016 – before the end of its current franchise. Eversholt will deliver the remaining 20 trains to the new East Anglia franchisee, which could be Abellio, FirstGroup or National Express.

Eversholt started working with Wabtec in July 2014 to develop a plan to bring a refurbished passenger train fleet to market, including the production of a demonstrator unit (featuring two styles of interior) used to gather operator and passenger feedback over 15 months in service.

MD of Abellio Greater Anglia, Jamie Burles, said: “I am delighted we have been able to agree this major transformation of 10 of our Class 321 trains, transforming the customer environment on these key carriages which are used by many thousands of our passengers every day.”

The scope of works in the fleet upgrade include new air-conditioning and heating systems, safer seating, larger vestibules, wi-fi, greater space for buggies and luggage, passenger power sockets, energy-efficient lighting, and a complete remodelling of all interior surfaces.

Eversholt class 321-2

Alongside passenger improvements, a Class 321 demonstrator is currently being equipped with a new traction system by Vossloh Kiepe UK Limited at Network Rail’s Rail Innovation and Development Centre at Old Dalby, near Nottingham.

The traction system includes four new AC motors, auxiliaries and braking systems, with testing set to run from October this year to spring 2016.

The prototype re-traction project, which represents a further £5.5m investment from Eversholt, includes design, production, type testing, combined testing, unit fitment, track testing and approvals.

Mark Williamson, managing director of Vossloh Kiepe, said: “Our clear focus is ensuring that our newly fitted traction equipment and integrated braking enhancements deliver a highly reliable and greatly improved Class 321 performance level for Eversholt Rail, the train operators and the passengers that use these trains in future years.”

Andy Course, chief operating officer at Eversholt, said: “Our investment in the Renatus upgrade providers a transformation for future passengers. We continue to be impressed by the rate of progress from our supply chain partners in readiness for what will be one of the largest refurbishment programmes ever undertaken.”


Andrew Gwilt   14/08/2015 at 00:27

About time to refurbish the AGA Class 321's with new features, traction motors, air-conditioning and new seats & floors.

Neil Palmer   14/08/2015 at 07:01

"The traction system includes four new AC motors, auxiliaries and breaking systems,...". I would have thought they'd opt for systems that didn't break.

RTM   14/08/2015 at 08:56

typo corrected, thanks

GW   14/08/2015 at 20:50

Please DON'T put in 387 type seats. They must be some of the most uncomfortable ever.

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