UK-based train operating company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has concluded the first tranche of Southern Railway’s 75 ‘Class 377/4’ trains modernisation.
The modernisation programme covered passenger priorities, including information screens and at-seat charging, and power points.
The trains were equipped with advanced engineering features to streamline maintenance.
The 75 trains were refurbished under a £55m programme over a five-year period.
The initiative was financed by the trains’ owner Porterbrook, the Rolling Stock Leasing Company (ROSCO) from whom GTR leased the trains.
With further upgrade elements being considered, Porterbrook’s investment in the programme is expected to increase to £100m.
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The train operator and ROSCO are said to be ‘levelling up’ a total of 270 trains in the Electrostar fleet, of which 377/4s are said to be the fleet’s largest ‘sub-class’.
Alstom air-conditioned and Derby-built trains, the Electrostar fleet is the most common type of electric-driven trains constructed since the privatisation of railways in the 1990s.
Using technical processes designed by Alstom, GTR’s own engineering team is conducting the upgrade at its Selhurst depot in South London.
The team has also started the same enhancements for the slightly older 377/1 trains.
The overhaul will cover all 214 of Southern’s 377s, ranging in age from eight to 21 years. It will also include 56 six-to-eight-year-old Class 387s that operate on Great Northern and Gatwick Express routes.
GTR engineering director Steve Lammin said: “These Electrostars are great trains. Taking on board our passengers’ feedback, this comprehensive upgrade will provide an even better on-board experience and more reliability.
“With collaboration from Alstom and Porterbrook, our team at Selhurst Depot has developed and streamlined a process of stripping out a train’s seats, interior panels and old wiring, installing all the new features, refitting seats and panels, testing and returning to service, at a rate of just one week per train.”