Latest Rail News

24.11.15

First refurbed Virgin Trains East Coast train to enter service next month

Virgin Trains East Coast’s first renovated train as part of its £21m refurbishment programme will enter service on 14 December, when the operator launches its new service between Sunderland and London.

The refurbishment project will see the interiors of its 45-train fleet fully refreshed, including new seat covers, on-board signage, carpets, curtains, tables, and renovated toilets including new lighting and hand dryers, on both its InterCity 125 and 225 sets.

First Class will be fitted with leather seats, and the operator has previously claimed that it will also introduce airport-style ‘luggage hubs’ on its long-distance services.

The work will be carried out at the company’s Bounds Green depot in London and its Craigentinny depot in Edinburgh – where it will also refurbish all 35 of its diesel engines for the High Speed Train (HST) fleet over the next two years as part of a £16m contract with engine manufacturer MTU.

The Mark 3 and 4 carriage interior upgrade and the HST refurb will bring the operator’s total investment to nearly £40m.

David Horne, Virgin Trains East Coast’s managing director, said the investment is one of the biggest of its kind ever seen on the east coast route. The £40m refresh also comes just three years before the introduction of the new Super Express Trains as part of the InterCity Express programme.

“We’re investing now so our customers can benefit from new seats and a great new on-board environment before we get a new fleet of 65 trains from 2018,” he said.

The operator is also expected to bring its “biggest rebranding exercise in a decade” to an end this month, as it delivers a re-liveried fleet with its signature bright red coat. In August, it had applied the new livery to seven diesel HST sets and 16 electric sets of the 45-train fleet, hitting the half-way mark in the programme.

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