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Alstom completes the UK’s biggest fleet upgrade as final refurbished Pendolino returns to service

  • The £117 million investment has helped to deliver a step change in onboard experience
  • Last Avanti West Coast train leaves Alstom’s train modernisation facility in Widnes after event to mark the successful completion of the project

Alstom, global leader in smart and sustainable mobility, has completed the UK’s biggest ever fleet upgrade – a £117 million refurbishment programme of Avanti West Coast’s Class 390 Pendolino trains.

The departure of the last Pendolino from the Alstom Transport Technology Centre at Widnes on Monday 24 June marked the end of the project which has seen 574 refurbished carriages delivered, at a rate of one completed train every two weeks.

The Alstom-built Pendolinos have served routes between London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh for close to 20 years, and the upgrade has returned the whole fleet to an ‘as new’ condition.

Customer benefits of the fleet overhaul include:

  • 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;
  • Refurbished First Class and Standard Premium seats;
  • Greater use of technology with customer-friendly passenger information screens;
  • Additional luggage space in Standard Class;
  • Power points at every seat;
  • Refurbished toilets; and
  • New carpets throughout using sustainable British wool.

Alstom’s successful completion of the UK’s biggest ever fleet upgrade demonstrates our commitment to enhancing the journey experience for fare-paying passengers while, at the same time, supporting the growth of sustainable rail travel in the UK,” Peter Broadley, Services Managing Director UK and Ireland at Alstom, who hosted an event at Widnes to mark the completion of the project.

He added: “This milestone highlights the dedication and expertise of our team at Widnes. They have worked tirelessly in partnership with colleagues at Avanti West Coast, Angel Trains and our wider UK supply chain to elevate the interior refurbishment of rolling stock to another level. We are immensely proud to see the entire Alstom-built Pendolino fleet returning to service in peak condition.”

Opened in 2017, Alstom’s Widnes facility is the UK’s largest and most sophisticated centre for train modernisation. Its vast size, and close embrace of digital principles, makes it ideal for work on intercity trains. The modernisation of Avanti West Coast’s Pendolino fleet supported around 100 roles at Widnes.

“The Pendolino is an iconic train, and now even better than before, offering customers a much-improved travel experience, with innovation and sustainability at its heart,” said Andy Mellors, Managing Director at Avanti West Coast.

UK suppliers have also benefitted from 80% of the £117 million investment, which is financed by Angel Trains, one of the UK’s leading train asset management companies.

“A huge thank you to both Alstom and Avanti West Coast for making the UK’s biggest ever fleet upgrade possible. It’s significantly transformed our iconic trains, and I’m positive that passengers will enjoy the comfort and connectivity when they travel on one of our refurbished Pendolinos,” said Malcolm Brown, CEO at Angel Trains.

He added: “This is exactly what the partnership between our businesses set out to achieve together, and I’m certain that it will encourage people to make a positive decision to travel by train on the West Coast Main Line.

“To demonstrate our commitment to continue developing talent within our suppliers and industry, Angel Trains is excited to announce that we’re sponsoring two apprentices to join Alstom’s Widnes facility later this year. I wish them every success in what I hope will be a long railway career ahead.”

The last refurbished Pendolino, 390020, entered into service on Monday 24 June – working the 08:43 service from Liverpool Lime Street to London Euston.

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