The UK's largest ever train fleet upgrade has passed a major milestone, with the refurbishment of the final 11-carriage Pendolino train. The project is now entering its final phase with work starting on the remaining 21 nine-carriage trains.
The departure of the last of the 11 carriage trains from rail manufacturer Alstom’s Widnes facility marked the end of first phase of the project, one that has seen 35 refurbished trains delivered inside 16 months, at a rate of one set every two weeks.
The Pendolinos, which have served towns and cities along the West Coast Main Line for over 20 years, have been given a new lease of life with the refurbishment. The trains have been fitted with new seats, tables, flooring, and infotainment screens, as well as improved lighting and power sockets.
The upgrade has been welcomed by passengers, who have praised the increased comfort and convenience of the new trains. Philippa Cresswell, Executive Director On Board at Avanti West Coast, said: "The refurbished Pendolinos are proving a big hit with our customers. They really do look and feel like a new train."
The project has also supported UK suppliers, with 80 percent of the £117m investment going to businesses based in the UK. Malcolm Brown, CEO of Angel Trains, said: "Our iconic Pendolino trains have been refurbished to provide a comfortable, connected, best in class passenger experience at a lower cost and carbon footprint than building new."
Peter Broadley, Alstom’s managing director services commented: “We’re incredibly proud of the Pendolino fleet upgrade project which takes train refurbishment to another level. Working in partnership with Angel Trains and Avanti West Coast we’ve delivered a fantastic product for passengers on the West Coast.”
The investment in the Pendolino fleet is just part of the changes taking place on the West Coast route which include the planned entry into service of a brand-new fleet of Hitachi trains from the end of 2023 which have recently been tested in North Wales. The new Hitachi trains are Class 805 bi-mode trains, which Hitachi will eventually deliver a fleet of 10 electric trains and 13 bi-mode trains.
Image: Avanti West Coast