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GWR finalises Bombardier Electrostar order for Thames Valley

New Bombardier Class 387 trains will be introduced on the Great Western Railway (GWR) network from September, after the company finalised a deal for 37 new trains replacing most of its current Turbo fleet.

Porterbrook Leasing has purchased an additional 92 Class 387 Electrostar vehicles from Bombardier for GWR, in addition to the 32 vehicles that are on build and will soon to be delivered to the Great Western franchise.

The leasing company’s previous Class 387 order of 80 vehicles will be split, as previously announced, with 24 vehicles being delivered to the Essex Thameside franchise for c2c and the remaining 56 vehicles going to GWR.

GWR will now benefit from a brand new fleet of 180 vehicles (inclusive of the 32 vehicles already in build), in GWR livery, for Thames Valley services.

The first of the Class 387 trains will be introduced on the new Hayes & Harlington – London Paddington service on 5 September, and provide an additional 1,400 additional seats at the busiest times every day for commuters.

The new Class 387 fleet can be run in four, eight or 12-car formation, with the latter offering 97% more capacity than the longest Turbo.

Mark Hopwood, managing director of GWR, said: “The Thames Valley is one of the most popular rail corridors in the UK. We’d already promised the current fleet would be upgraded to provide much needed additional capacity and faster journey times, but this deal goes even further offering the comfort of what will be most up-to-date commuter fleet on the UK rail network.”

The new 92 vehicles will be built at Bombardier’s Derby site and delivery of them will commence from April 2017, with full delivery to be taken by October 2017. The trains can travel at 110 mph and offer at-seat power sockets, air conditioning, extra luggage space and free wi-fi.

Richard Hunter, Bombardier Transportation UK’s managing director, said: “Bombardier is proud to support the DfT and GWR in providing the increase in capacity required for passenger growth by delivering further units of its leading class Electrostar product.”

(Image c. Great Western Railway)

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Jak Jaye   10/06/2016 at 12:25

Very good news? all those new trains and only a few miles of electrified track not enough for all those units unless NotWork Fail get their act together(some hope) and complete the whole electrification project

Malcolm   10/06/2016 at 13:26

Rather a shame they have not ordered any with some supplementary batteries so they could run "beyond the wires" Newbury to Bedwyn, Oxford to Banbury, Twyford to Henley, and Maindenhead to Marlow. The technology was proved to work on an electrostar so would not have been difficult to replicate on new build units - the design exists. Perhaps FGW doesn't care about the passengers who will loose their through trains to London. Also why order 20m long vehicles when Bombardier have a 23m long carbody available, giving more capacity at what I suspect would be a negligible increase in first and ongoing maintenance costs? The existing "turbos" have 23m long vehicles so should not be any clearance problems with a longer car. Seems to be a lack of thought here.

Chris   10/06/2016 at 15:47

It's surprisingly well thought out - while batteries are apparently under investigation their practicality and viability is questionable; a small order of extra Hitachi AT300s is more likely for services beyond the wires. As for carriage length, 23m wasn't an option - most were due to be existing 387s cascaded from Southern, with a few extra currently under construction. Now they are all new-build, but to the same design.

Mark   10/06/2016 at 17:56

8 plus 37 equals 45 new 387s. 36 165 & 21 166 equals 57 turbo. So does this mean 12 165/166 retained for branch lines? What has happened to 365 that were to come to GWR? No mention. Much prefer to see all new - passenger loads need good trains. Why do all the cabs of 387s have to be built before September - if there is a safety issue, that should be sorted BEFORE any more are built. Well done Mark Hopwood.

David Faircloth   10/06/2016 at 18:10

Mark, there isn't a safety issue with the cabs, it's just a case of new crashworthyness regulations becoming effective after that date which would prevent these trains being taken into service; this is not unusual on Britain's railway.

Chris@Chesterfield   10/06/2016 at 20:00

Are they serious about the drab colour scheme? These trains look old before they're even new. I know GW are in heavy nostalgia mode, but has no-one told them that doesn't cut much ice on a commuter (or even a regional) railway?

Iain   10/06/2016 at 20:14

The green is nicer than the GTR lot which might as well be in undercoat! Begs the question will the GTR 387s stay and displace older stock or will they go off somewhere else? They are of course only with GTR because the DfT were so incompetent that they took years to order the trains for Thameslink and still came up with something designed to carry children and host skateboarding events!

Noam Bleicher   11/06/2016 at 09:28

Will they have tables, free wifi and charging sockets [USB and 230v]? Or will they be the same disastrous tube train layout as the Thameslink 700s? GWR's current approach, putting 165s on long-distance trains to the Cotswolds, while ripping tables out of 166s, doesn't inspire confidence.

Adam Bryant   11/06/2016 at 09:41

I heard the 166s were going to Reading to do the Reading - Gatwick Airport services. All the 165s are going West.

Stephen Waring   11/06/2016 at 16:27

Agree with Malcolm about batteries for non-electrified Thames Valley branches etc - missed opportunity it seems. I suppose it's a lot of deadweight to carry so maybe they calculate not cost-effective. But electro-diesels also mean dragging dead machinery under the wires. AT300s for Marlow and Henley? Not sure about that... how about Class 230 Vivarail D-trains?

Richard   12/06/2016 at 20:28

Why does no-one order any trains that look good anymore? Why is style and image not a consideration. The just stick a carriage connecting centre to the front of these. Depressing. On the continent at least new trains' fronts look good.

Roger Capel   13/06/2016 at 08:11

Lots of us "of an age" have described the livery as "BR Multiple Unit Green revived. One or two have said that for vehicles with a full width front they could bring back "Speed Whiskers!

Rupert Le Bere   13/06/2016 at 22:11

Does the design technology not exist so that corridor connections can be contained within the body of the unit until needed rather than stuck on the front like a carbunkle? At least the 165s and 166s which they are replacing have relatively smart front ends (...I know are no between unit connections...) but the new 387s hark back to the old Clacton units - contenders for the Turner prize for train design

Andrew Gwilt   14/06/2016 at 17:29

Once the last Class 387/2 (387227) is being delivered and all 27 of the Class 387/2's are operation on Gatwick Express London Victoria-Gatwick Airport and Brighton-Gatwick Airport services with possible service between London Bridge & Gatwick Airport to operate with some Gatwick Express trains that some could stop off at Clapham Junction & East Croydon on semi fast services. Plus Thameslink Class 700's should also start service from end of June or in early July. With all 24 Class 442's to be out of service and stored at depots and sidings until they could be used on other routes or they could be scrapped.

Scottie   16/06/2016 at 13:29

A Technical Question for RTM and it's readers ? Why does UK New Rolling Stock continue to avoid building / buying truly Articulated Multiple Units. Have travelled on these units in Germany and recently Spain, they appear much superior in quality for the passenger than of those in the UK. To my knowledge the only articulated train units that are currently in the UK are on the DLR. For instance the Capital-Star units currently operated by London Overground were surely an ideal opportunity for this type of stock ! Why does the UK avoid this type of articulated suburban stock that works perfectly well in Europe ?

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