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South Western announces £50m train refurbishment

South Western Railway (SWR) has today announced a programme of refurbishment and improvement on 172 of its Class 444 and Class 450 Desiro trains.

The £50m contract, awarded to Siemens, is part of a greater £1.2bn investment project by SWR across its stock and network.

The current programme is expected to take 12 months from its beginning in December and will deliver a full interior refurbishment of all trains – including, at-seat power points for mobile devices and real-time information displays and carpets.

Additionally, first class customers will benefit from new leather seats and new tables incorporating inductive charging.

The overall project plan includes the introduction of new and as-new train fleets to increase capacity, longer, more frequent trains, and station improvements with a better ticket buying experience.

It will also aim to support local communities by creating regional economic growth plans and working on social and environmental responsibility.

“We are delighted to have appointed Siemens to carry out the refurbishment of our Class 444 and 450 Desiros,” commented SWR engineering director, Neil Drury. “This significant investment in our fleet of trains will see a step change for our customers, and investment in local facilities and suppliers. We have a long relationship with Siemens, who I am confident will deliver a high-quality product.”

Vernon Barker, managing director of rail systems, Siemens, added: “Siemens is proud to secure this major partnership with SWR having worked closely with the operator’s parent companies FirstGroup and MTR throughout their bid for the new franchise.

“The refurbishment of the rolling stock will go a long way to supporting SWR to deliver on the commitments it set out at the start of the franchise, including improving the passenger experience through renovations which will deliver better trains and more seats for travellers across the region.”

Work will be undertaken at Eastleigh, with investment expected to be made in local facilities.

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Andrew Gwilt   10/11/2017 at 13:11

3x2 or 2x3 seats seems not a good idea. And yes SWR are still to improve their rolling stocks when their new Class 701's Aventra's will replace the Class 455's, Class 456's, Class 458's and Class 707's in couple years time.

Jimbo   10/11/2017 at 13:56

@Andrew Gwilt - As someone who regularly travels on 450's, I can agree that the 3+2 seating is not wide enough for the average adult and people hang over the edge into the gangway, which restricts movement up and down the carriage. Unfortunately, it looks like the refurbishment will just re-use the same seats with new coverings. Many of the units are rather tired so this refurbishment is overdue, but they aren't making any changes to the seating layout. When the 458's were rebuilt, the opportunity was taken to change to 2+2 seating, adding space between the seats and providing more circulation space for standing. As a result, the rebuilt 5-carriage units had fewer seats than the previous 4-carriage units. We are getting the 458's back on the Reading line soon, which probably means I will no longer get a seat and have to stand for an hour into Waterloo. So which is better, more room to sit or more seats squeezed in?

PP   10/11/2017 at 16:21

I clicked on the link Andrew supplied - please, please, please tell me that's a mistake and they're not planning on putting 2+3 seats in the 444s! They're some of the best trains out there - higher-density seating would instantly ruin them.

Andrew Gwilt   10/11/2017 at 18:38

I guarantee that the Class 458/5’s could be transferred to Southern to replace the Class 455’s on South London suburban services and possibly allow the Class 707’s to move to East Midlands Trains as the electrification to Corby and Kettering is to start from next year and to operate on London St. Pancras-Corby. Or c2c could use the Class 707’s to operate on Fenchurch St-Shoeburyness and Southend Central during peak time rush hour despite 18 new trains will be built for c2c in 2019 that could be 5-Cars and could be manufactured by Siemens.

Melvyn   10/11/2017 at 19:22

It seems Waterloo commuters have got a raw deal compared to users of Liverpool Street where every train is due to be replaced under new Anglia franchise and of course Overground and Crossrail/Elizabeth Line will get new trains . Even the relatively new Stanstead Express trains are to be replaced. Yet over at Waterloo the new South West Rail franchise will actually see the return of trains it predecessor withdrew and no plans for the DMUs used on Exeter services despite their age and new fangled Hybrid trains which could use electrification from Waterloo then switch to diesel and build a case to electrify remainder of the route . Yet the Anglia franchise includes new hybrid trains and I have read elsewhere consideration of using electric operation on already wired sections is being considered on longer regional services .

Dan   10/11/2017 at 19:39

Please tell me they're going to get rid of the bike racks for more seats, it's a slap in the face having to sit on the floor whilst a sweaty cyclist enjoys a seat as well as a free berth for their machine.

Jak Jaye   10/11/2017 at 21:52

Good old Britons railways! fit new seat covers and give units(yet) another paint job and passengers will think they have new trains,well good luck with that one

Turbostar   11/11/2017 at 11:37

Jak, they are only around 15 years old now, most rolling stock is designed for a 30 year plus life. If they are mechanically sound then refurbishment is the way to go.

Andrew JG   11/11/2017 at 17:19

What about the SWR Class 158’s and Class 159’s DMU’s. Will these DMU units also have 2+3 seats as part of the refurbishment. Even though some of the DMU’s have got new SWR liveries.

South West Trains Fan   11/11/2017 at 17:42

I really do miss South West Trains. Now South Western Railway have taken over the franchise back in August. It seems that I’ve lost faith in the new rail franchise that Stagecoach lost and First+MTR have taken over from South West Trains. Plus with Class 701’s being ordered to replace the Class 455’s, Class 456’s, Class 458’s and Class 707’s. With exception of Class 707’s that could become redundant and possibly face the scrapyard since Siemens have built nearly 30 Class 707’s to work on the Reading and Windsor & Eton Riverside lines that will be replaced by the Class 701’s from 2019. I hate South Western Railway for what they are doing to improve their services and to keep their customers happy. And yes they have completely ruined it by adding such awful liveries to their Class 444’s, Class 450’s, Class 158’s and Class 159’s that looks very dull, dark and just horrible. I will hate SWR no matter how much I don’t care about them. I want South West Trains back. :’(

Louis   12/11/2017 at 09:10

Hold on. So Andrew hates SWR because of their livery. And thinks that has ruined the passenger experience?

Andrew JG   12/11/2017 at 10:33

So you think it was me who wrote that down. Do you have proof it was me? I guess you are lying Lewis.

Andrew JG   12/11/2017 at 10:35

Louis. Ffs

Jim   12/11/2017 at 10:51

Andrew, give us a break, it is clearly you.

Andrew JG   12/11/2017 at 14:08


Allhailthegwilt   12/11/2017 at 17:17

The sensitive one appears, as always appears to be you Gwilt! Hence the constant abuse you hurl at all those who question your inane and irrelevant rubbish

Andrew JG   12/11/2017 at 19:44

Allhailthegwilt. Oh give it a rest. I bet you are a professional troll. Can we all move on from the arguments please. This post went from interesting to now absolutely pathetic.

Anonymous   12/11/2017 at 23:12

Anyways despite all the arguments. This should of been about the £50million refurbishment of the 172 of South Western Railway’s Class 444 and (45 Class 444’s) and Class 450 (127 Class 450’s) Siemens Desiro EMU’s. So why the stupid arguments. Please respect each other before you start off causing a argument. Don’t want to cause any more arguments but the arguments isn’t helping this article for others to read.

Theresa   13/11/2017 at 10:11

Andrew you're not helping anyone to read. Stop trying to play the Martyr.

Jimbo   13/11/2017 at 11:12

Just to be clear, the picture in the announcement titled "444 Interior Standard" showing 3+2 seating is just a closeup of the 450 picture, so looks like either a mistake or lazy titling. How about we give SWR the benefit of doubt and wait to see if we get further info before going off the deep end. The vitriol shown by a certain commentator has no place in a professional forum.

Andrew JG   13/11/2017 at 18:54

@Theresa. So I’m the one who isn’t helping anyone to read just because I speculate. Oh do shut up. Zzz.

Jim   14/11/2017 at 07:54

Be quiet Andrew.

Andrew JG   14/11/2017 at 11:46

Hahaha NO Jim.

Milanafc   14/11/2017 at 14:55

Would be nice to see the class 707 go to the north for stopper trains so the class 319 can be used for express and lengthen trains. The class 458 can go to southern to replace class 455 but with some 455 to replace class 313 that southern have.

Andrew Gwilt   14/11/2017 at 20:40

Class 707’s won’t go North. Southern might be able to inherit the Class 707’s to replace the Class 455’s on the South London suburban services and possibly Southern could allow the Class 458’s to operate on the Brighton-Southampton Central/Portsmouth Harbour/Portsmouth & Southsea & Brighton-Hastings/Ore/Eastbourne services to replace the Class 313’s and to extend to 10-Cars on those services with 5-Cars on Brighton-Littlehampton, Bognor Regis and Brighton-Seaford services. If that might happen.

Brain   15/11/2017 at 13:39

Cool story. Zzzzzz

Andrew JG   21/11/2017 at 03:22

I presume that I made you bored. Aww didums.

Jabba The Gwilt   04/12/2017 at 13:09

Why are you basically talking to your self Andrew ? I think you need to calm down on trolling every single rail page and group because the wibble meter is off the scale now !

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