Saloon view, provided by Southeastern

Javelin high speed trains set to receive innovative upgrades for passenger services

Southeastern passengers are set to benefit from a major set of upgrades to the operators train fleet, with £27m worth of improvements are set to be unveiled in March 2023.

The Class 395 Javelin trains currently provide services between London St Pancras and Kent, acting as the UK’s only very high-speed passenger fleet, delivering record levels of reliability. Introducing these trains has provided a major boost to the tourism economy, generating an estimated £1bn in growth.

The initial phase of this innovative project will have a seven-month duration, including the design phase, engineering, and procurement. The first upgrade of the 29 strong fleet will commence in March 2023, being conducted at Southeastern’s Ashford Depot.

The scope of the £27 million programme includes:

  • Full interior refresh, including new carpets and seats, with proposed new seating layouts to assist people with reduced mobility.
  • Live passenger information system (PIS) upgrade including media screens from 2024
  • CCTV system upgrade
  • USB at-seat charging
  • LED lighting installation

A major focus of these upgrades is renovation of the interior design, creating a better experience for passenger travel, hopefully encouraging more people to convert their travel to rail over road where possible. These ergonomic upgrades will see the installation of new seats, LED lighting, USB charging, and a live passenger information system.

The fleet upgrade project will also provide a key opportunity for the installation of the latest digital solutions to help with passenger management and infrastructure monitoring. New CCTV will be installed through Eversholt, combining with Hitachi Rail’s digital solutions, to provide live passenger data on numbers and load weighting. The collection of this data will afford Southeastern to innovate their passenger information channels, whilst allowing longer-term planning of passenger flow and maintenance. The storage of this data will allow the operator to realise key values that can help to be transformative for future sector evolution.

Mark Johnson, Engineering Director for Southeastern said:

“We’re proud to run the UK’s fastest domestic passenger services which have been crucial to the continued regeneration and prosperity of many places on our network, and we’re looking forward to working with Eversholt Rail and Hitachi Rail to complete this upgrade across the entirety of the 140mph Javelin fleet, the fastest of their type in Britain. When finished, it will bring the fleet up to the very latest standards and ensure that standards of comfort, accessibility and information provision are as high as possible for our customers, improving the on-board environment for our customers who like to work or use personal devices when travelling with us.”

The Javelin fleet will become one of the first in the UK to see installation of Hitachi Rail’s digital infrastructure monitoring technology. This tech performs through exterior roof mounted, high-definition cameras focused on the pantograph, providing live monitoring of overhead lines and surrounding equipment. This represents the opportunity to modernise trackside maintenance, delivering value for money in a sector that is still financially recuperating from losses over the recent pandemic.

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