Avanti West Coast

Avanti kick-starts UK's largest train fleet upgrade

Avanti West Coast has set in motion the UK’s biggest ever train fleet upgrade this week. The rail company said the £117m scheme will transform all 56 of their iconic Pendolinos.

The trains are largely recognised as the UK’s hardest working train fleet, having travelled over 270 million miles since they were launched, enough to go to the moon and back more than 500 times.

Some of the improvements that’ll be carried out include:

  • Replacing 25,000 Standard Class seats
  • Conversion of one First Class carriage on each of the 35 eleven-carriage Pendolinos to provide more than 2,000 extra Standard class seats
  • The introduction of a new Café Bar for customers to meet and enjoy refreshments
  • Improved lighting and new interior carpets
  • Greater use of technology with customer-friendly passenger information screens
  • Additional luggage space
  • Power points at every seat
  • Refurbished toilets

Managing Director for Avanti West Coast, Phil Whittingham, explained, “the Pendolino is a real workhorse which has helped to transform services on the West Coast Main Line."

He added, "this investment will take them to the next level and they’ll feel like new trains with state-of-the-art technology and brand-new seats. I can’t wait to see the reaction from our customers and people.”

Financed by Angel Trains, UK suppliers will benefit from 80% of the £117 investment. Rail manufacturer Alstom will also supervise the renovation at their new depot in Widnes in the North West, consequently securing 100 skilled jobs.

Chief Operating Officer of Angel Trains, David Jordan, said “investing in the refurbishment of rolling stock is crucial for advancing the UK rail industry and supporting the wider supply chain.”

He continued, "this project is a huge milestone, and we are proud to work with our customers Avanti West Coast to upgrade the Pendolino fleet, to create modern train interiors that are fit for future passengers’ needs."

Managing Director, Services, Alstom UK & Ireland, Peter Broadley, said “we were delighted when our friends at Avanti West Coast entrusted our team at Widnes with the upgrade of the Alstom-built Pendolino, one of Britain’s most reliable, popular and sustainable trains”

He added, “Alstom is the nation’s leading train services provider and train refurbishment is a major part of our offering, so we can’t wait to get cracking on this landmark project.”’

But the renovated Pendolinos are just one of the changes underway on the West Coast. The pioneering Standard Premium will also be coming in 2023, offering at-seat ordering and a newfound fleet which will replace the current diesel Voyagers.

The first train, set number 390125, is due to re-enter service in late 2021. The upgrade programme will run until February 2024 when the last of the 56 strong fleet is expected to leave Widnes.

RTM Aug/Sept 21

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Our August/September 2021 edition of RTM covers many of the changing aspects of the rail industry, including key changes involving infrastructure and stations. Read our breakdown of the key milestones with HS2 between now and 2024, while elsewhere we investigate the role which hydrogen fuels could have on UK rolling stock. We also delve into the ever-growing digital world of the rail industry, while from Page 65 onwards, we include our Railtex / Infrarail 2021 supplement – your chance to gain a wealth of valuable information about the exhibition, right at your fingertips.

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