Avanti West Coast Begins UK’s Biggest Ever Train Fleet Upgrade

Avanti West Coast, which runs the West Coast Partnership services, is refurbishing its entire fleet of 56 Alstom Pendolinos.

The first has arrived at Alstom’s Widnes depot. It should re-enter passenger service later this year. In total, Avanti West Coast is investing 117 million GBP, financed by rolling stock owner Angel Trains, in the refurbishment works. Since these trains were put into service almost 20 years ago, they have travelled more than 270 million miles collectively. They serve connections between London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh on the West Coast Main Line.

 

The refurbishment works include:

  • replacing 25,000 standard class seats
  • converting one first-class carriage on all of the 35 eleven-car Pendolinos into standard-class carriages to create an additional 2,000 standard class seats – a total of 607 seats per train
  • fitting a new café bar
  • making improvements to the lighting and fitting new carpets
  • increasing and improving the use of technology, such as passenger information screens
  • installing more luggage storage
  • providing power points at every seat
  • refurbishing the toilets
Phil Whittingham, Managing Director, Avanti West Coast, 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. I can’t wait to see the reaction from our customers and people.”

 

The first train at Widnes is set number 390125, which has clocked up more than 5.1 million miles. This train will be in Alstom’s Widnes depot for 16 weeks in total. During the first six weeks it will have a technology upgrade, testing and validation. Then the new cafe bar will be installed. After that, the train will get new flooring, tables, seats and the interior in general will be refurbished.

The first Alstom Pendolino arrives at the Widnes depot
The first Alstom Pendolino arrives at the Widnes depot

The first four trains are described as ‘learner trains’. The fifth train should then undergo its refurbishment in a two-week period.

The upgrade programme will continue until February 2024, when all 56 Pendolinos will have been refurbished. However, there is an aspiration to bring that date forward, especially with the 9-car Pendolinos, which could be refurbished in as little as one week.

Peter Broadley, Managing Director, Services, Alstom UK & Ireland, said:

“We were delighted when our friends at Avanti West Coast entrusted our team at Widnes with the upgrade of the Alstom-built Pendolino, one of Britain’s most reliable, popular and sustainable trains.

“Alstom is the nation’s leading train services provider and train refurbishment is a major part of our offering, so we can’t wait to get cracking on this landmark project.”

 

Other changes Avanti West Coast has been making to its services are the introduction of its ‘standard premium’ class and its at-seat ordering. A new fleet to replace the Bombardier-manufactured diesel Voyagers will be introduced in 2023.

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