UK-based train operating company Avanti West Coast has commenced the country’s biggest train fleet modernisation project.

Under the $160.97m (£117m) upgrade project, all 56 Avanti West Coast’s Pendolinos will be refurbished.

Around 80% of the investment is provided by UK-based train asset management firm Angel Trains.

The project is expected to return the entire Pendolino fleet to ‘as new’ condition.

These trains have provided services on routes spanning between London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Glasgow, Manchester, and Edinburgh for nearly two decades.

Improvements will include the addition of extra luggage space and the replacement of 25,000 standard class seats.

One first class carriage on each of the 35 eleven-carriage Pendolinos will be converted to offer over 2,000 additional standard class seats.

Other customer improvements include enhanced lighting, new interior carpets, customer-friendly passenger information screens, power points at every seat, and restored toilets.

This refurbishment project will be monitored by Alstom at its new depot in Widnes in the North West.

The first train, set number 390125, is expected to re-start services later this year, with the upgrade project set to continue until February 2024.

Avanti West Coast managing director Phil Whittingham said: “The Pendolino is a real workhorse, which has helped to transform services on the West Coast Main Line.

“This investment will take them to the next level and they’ll feel like new trains with state-of-the-art technology and brand new seats.”

In addition, the company has introduced Standard Premium that will replace the diesel Voyagers in 2023.

Last month, Avanti West Coast started testing a digital wayfinding tool to help commuters navigate through railway stations.