Porterbrook has announced that South Western Railway’s (SWR) fleet of Modern Railway’s ‘Golden Spanner awards’ winning Class 458 trains will undergo major improvements following a new deal with Alstom.
To provide a train service suitable for future demand, especially for long-distance travellers, SWR discussed with Porterbrook, one of the UK’s biggest railway rolling stock owner, to extend the lease of their electric Class 458 fleet to 2027, along with a programme revamping each unit.
Following talks between Porterbrook and Alstom, a French railway rolling stock manufacturer, a new £25 million contract has been signed.
Carrying out the upgrades at their Widnes site in Cheshire, Alstom will complete the following changes:
- Increasing top speed to 110mph – reducing journey times
- Updating saloon areas – providing a better ride for customers on longer journeys
- Altering positions of cars on each trains – increase acceleration to meet route timings
On completion the whole upgraded fleet will based at SWR’s Bournemouth depot.
CEO of Porterbrook Mary Grant said: “I am delighted that our customer South Western Railway has decided to retain our Class 458 fleet. Partnership is at the heart of our business. To demonstrate this, we will be taking responsibility for the performance of these trains and supporting SWR as they transform South Coast and long-distance services.
“I am also pleased that our partner Alstom will continue to play an active role in their future. Not only is this good news for SWR passengers, it is also great news for Widnes and Bournemouth, where the railway family at both locations help keep Britain moving every day.”
Engineering Director at SWR Neil Drury said: “This fully refurbished fleet of 458s will provide an even better experience for our customers, while delivering efficient and flexible capacity on our medium range services.”
MD Services, UK & Ireland, Alstom Peter Broadley said: “We are very pleased to have been awarded this important contract, a reflection of our excellent relationships with Porterbrook and SWR, as well as the skills and professionalism of our team at Widnes. Passengers can now look forward to the upgrade of the very reliable Alstom-built Class 458.”
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