Avanti West Coast’s
first refurbished Pendolino recently returned to service after being transformed as part of the UK’s largest-ever train upgrade. The tilting, electric powered Pendolinos transformed train travel between some of Britain’s biggest cities when introduced in July 2002, clocking up more than 270 million miles.
Rail Minister Wendy Morton said: “The iconic Pendolino is back and better than ever before. This refurbished version of the classic fleet is a fantastic example of our cutting-edge rail network and how our railways are leading the way in creating a cleaner, more environment-friendly and modern transport system.”
The £117 million upgrade programme was two years in the making and involved experts in technology, customer information and ergonomics.
Customer improvements included: 25,000 new, ergonomic standard class seats; conversion of one first class carriage on each of the 35 11-carriage Pendolinos to provide more than 2,000 extra Standard Class seats; the introduction of a new onboard shop; improved lighting and new interior carpets; greater use of technology with customer-friendly passenger information screens; and power points at every seat.
Phil Whittingham, Avanti West Coast’s managing director, said: “This investment has been one of the key promises to our customers and they will see a dramatic transformation of our well-loved fleet. The refurbished Pendolinos look and feel like new trains with ‘state of the art’ technology as well as brand-new seats that promise best-in-class comfort.”
The remaining 55 trains are to receive the same treatment as part of the programme, which Alstom is undertaking at its new depot in Widnes in the North West, helping to secure 100 skilled jobs. The upgrade programme will run until 2024 when the last of the 56-strong fleet is expected to leave Widnes.
UK suppliers are benefitting from 80% of the £117 million investment, which is financed by Angel Trains, one of the UK’s leading train Asset Management companies. Malcolm Brown, Angel Trains CEO, said: “We are delighted to see the first of our new refurbished Pendolino trains re-enter passenger service. This project demonstrates how, through sustainable methods, existing trains can be renovated to provide a top-tier passenger experience.
“It has been a pleasure to collaborate with our industry partners to deliver a fast, comfortable, and low-carbon mode of transport for passengers on the West Coast Mainline.”