Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Porterbrook have announced that the first newly updated Class 377s ‘Electrostars’ are returning to service.
GTR’s 377s form part of the most common type of electric trains since the 1990s and have been in service for up to 20 years.
The first train was completed at Selhurst Depot, in South London, on the 5th February 2021.
Working together in partnership, GTR and Porterbrook (who own the fleet and funding the upgrades) used Transport Focus’ passenger’s priority study to determine which features should be included in the revamped fleet, along with other changes to reduce maintenance time and cost and increase serviceable days.
All of these have been achieved, with additions such as real-time train data displayed on screens, passenger counting system, to show how busy services are, and power points to name a few. The displays show service information for both Govia Thameslink Railway and London Underground.
Each train is now more standardised with other classes in the GTR fleet, easing maintenance tasks.
CCTV has also been installed to film the front of the train to analyse any incidents that cause delay to train services.
The Class 377s operate suburban and commuter services on the Southern network between London, Surrey and the South Coast.
The Great Northern and Gatwick Express 56 Class 387s will also be upgraded to the same standards.
GTR’s Engineering Director Steve Lammin said: “These Electrostars are great trains. Taking on board our passengers’ feedback, this comprehensive upgrade will provide an even better onboard experience and more reliability. Our team at Selhurst Depot has used this first train to develop and learn all the complex processes involved in fitting the new features, guided by the trains’ manufacturer, Bombardier. We’re now testing our new knowledge on the second train, and as we gradually speed up the work, more and more passengers will notice the benefits over the coming years.
“I’m really pleased that GTR is working with Porterbrook and Bombardier to build back a better railway for our customers, in support of the country’s post-coronavirus recovery plan.”
Porterbrook Chief Executive Officer Mary Grant said: “We are committed to supporting GTR in meeting the expectations of today’s customers. Porterbrook will be investing a total of £100m in upgrading our entire Electrostar fleet, operated by GTR, over the coming years. This initial £55m investment will deliver significantly enhanced passenger facilities and improve train reliability through the use of data analytics. I am also delighted that GTR’s own highly skilled Selhurst Depot team will be delivering this upgrade programme on our behalf.”
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