We’re investing almost £110mrefurbishing our existing Desiro and diesel fleets, and a revitalised fleet of 18 Class 442s for the Portsmouth to London route.
By far the greatest number of trains in our current fleet are the Class 444 and 450 Desiro trains which have seen millions of miles and millions of passenger journeys since they were introduced, so will benefit from a full interior refurbishment to meet the needs of our passengers.
The £50m refurbishment programme is designed not only to improve the environment in which passengers travel, but also to increase seating capacity in standard class accommodation to meet the ever-growing number of passengers on one of Britain’s busiest railway networks. Siemens, which built the existing fleet of trains, is carrying out a complete refurbishment of the train interiors, providing as-new interiors and increased seating capacity to help us deliver on our commitment to boost peak seats at Waterloo by 30% by December 2020.
The interior refurbishment is designed to improve the overall journey experience and to equip trains for years to come. Passengers travelling across the South Western Railway network will benefit from refreshed toilets, new Axminster carpets, new seat covers, at-seat charging points and a new on-train entertainment system. First Class accommodation will see leather seats and innovative induction charging. It’s a good opportunity to increase seating capacity while these trains are being refurbished, so all the trains will reconfigured to provide additional standard class seating.
Work began in December 2017 at Eastleigh and the first refurbished trains are already back in service. The refurbishment work on our diesel fleet (Class 158 and 159) is already underway.
We’ve got together with Siemens to produce a time-lapse video which shows just what’s involved in the refurbishment process. The whole carriage is stripped bare before work starts on reversing the process, ending up with a superb as-new interior. It takes about a week to do a four-car train, but the video shows how it’s done in about 60 seconds!
Later this year we plan to begin the introduction of refurbished Class 442 trains, due to serve London Waterloo and Portsmouth as well as London Waterloo and Bournemouth. We’ve partnered with Kiepe Electric UK who are carrying out the refurbishment in two phases. The first phase includes interior improvements to include new seats, carpets, accessible toilets, improved Wi-Fi and a new on-board infotainment system. Next year we’ll start phase two which will involve changes to the cycle areas and the re-tractioning of the units, bringing about better performance and reliability.