One of Britain’s train fleets is to undergo a major refurbishment that will create many high-skilled engineering jobs and secure hundreds more throughout the UK.
In a seven-year deal worth about £642 million, signed by Avanti West Coast (the route’s new operator) and Alstom (which built the fleet), all 56 electric Pendolino trains used on the West Coast Mainline will be overhauled.
As well as covering a £127 million upgrade programme for the Pendolinos (believed to be the biggest train upgrade programme ever undertaken in the UK), the deal will see Alstom maintain them until 2026.
The first of the ‘revolutionary’ tilting Pendolino trains entered service on the London to Glasgow route in January 2003.
The overhaul will focus on onboard facilities, with passengers benefitting from more-comfortable seating, improvements to the shop, revamped toilets, better lighting, new interiors, and the installation of at-seat chargers and improved Wi-Fi throughout.
Performance will also be improved through new maintenance programmes.
The deal will create 100 high-skilled jobs, mostly based at Alstom’s Transport and Technology Centre in Widnes (www.alstom.com
), with hundreds more existing engineering jobs secured at key depots in Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxley and Wembley.
Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, said: “In the Liverpool City Region, we are trying to create a fair and inclusive economy, where local people benefit from investment.
“The Combined Authority has provided £3.4 million in funding to help Alstom open its new facility in Halton.”
Phil Whittingham, managing director of Avanti West Coast, said: “The Pendolino is an iconic passenger train, and we’re delighted to be giving it a new lease of life.
“This deal will improve the experience of passengers and ensure that the fleet can continue to serve communities up and down the West Coast route in the years ahead.”