Avanti West Coast have secured a major seven-year deal worth £642 million with Alstom to upgrade all 56 of their electric Pendolino trains on the West Coast Mainline.
As well as covering a £127m upgrade of the Pendolinos, which is believed to be the biggest train upgrade programme ever undertaken in the UK, the deal will see Alstom maintain them until 2026 alongside a new train fleet recently ordered from Hitachi.
The refurb will focus on customer experience, with passengers benefitting from onboard facility upgrades, such as more comfortable seating, improvements to toilet facilities, better lighting, new interiors, the installation of at-seat chargers and improved Wi-Fi. New maintenance programmes are hoped to improve performance too.
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100 new jobs created
The deal will create 100 high-skilled roles, mostly based at Alstom’s Transport and Technology Centre in Widnes, with hundreds more existing engineering jobs secured at key depots in Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxley and Wembley.
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, said: “In the Liverpool City Region, we’re trying to create a fair and inclusive economy where local people benefit from investment. The Combined Authority have provided £3.4m in funding to help Alstom open their ground breaking facility in Halton.
“I’m really pleased that – because of this brand new facility – local people will benefit through jobs and apprenticeships for years to come through projects like this.”
Managing Director of Avanti West Coast, Phil Whittingham, 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 the fleet can continue to serve communities up and down the west coast route in the years ahead.”
Nick Crossfield, Managing Director, Alstom UK & Ireland added: “Alstom are proud to have been trusted by First Trenitalia to maintain the Avanti West Coast fleet and upgrade the Pendolino trains. Over the last 15 years these trains have revolutionised travel for passengers, with faster and more frequent services.
“Passengers can now look forward to a new chapter in this story with Avanti West Coast, and with this contract in place, Alstom can look forward to investing even more in high quality jobs and apprenticeships as we deliver these improvements.”
Alan Lowe, CFO of Angel Trains which leases the fleet to Avanti West Coast, said: “The refurbishment of the Avanti West Coast fleet will dramatically improve passenger experience and create highly-skilled jobs in local communities, so we’re delighted to be supporting First Trenitalia and Alstom as this exciting project commences.
“Angel Trains is committed to investing in the modernisation of UK Rail and this transformative project will ensure that Pendolino trains reflect the evolving needs of today’s passengers and continue to be an iconic part of our railways.”Enjoy more Rail Express reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.