Britain’s fastest passenger train gets a makeover

  • First train in £27 million refurbishment project re-enters passenger service
  • The Class 395 Highspeed fleet travels at 140mph and connects London St Pancras International with Ashford, East Kent and Medway
  • Upgrade part of train operator’s plan to deliver its best ever customer experience which involves a refresh of existing trains or new trains introduced to Southeastern

The first of 29 refurbished high-speed trains on Southeastern’s flagship route between London St Pancras and Kent has re-entered service – heralding a £27 million upgrade for Britain’s fastest passenger trains as part of the train operator’s commitment to deliver a better, more reliable, and more sustainable service.

Unit 395012, well-known to many as the ‘Trainbow’, entered the train operator’s Ashford train maintenance depot on 12th June to have interior refresh work carried out, and emerged from the workshops today to be followed by another 28 trains over the coming months.

Each train is receiving:

  • A full interior refresh, including new carpets and seats
  • Live passenger information system (PIS) upgrade including media screens (from 2024)
  • A CCTV system upgrade
  • USB at-seat charging
  • LED lighting installation

The high speed fleet will also have energy meters fitted which will help Southeastern reduce its energy and environmental impact.

The upgrade future-proofs the UK’s only very high speed passenger fleet, which has already delivered record levels of reliability, passenger satisfaction and a £1 billion boost to the Kent tourism economy.

This upgrade is being carried out in partnership with Hitachi Rail and Eversholt Rail.

Link to YouTube video on C395 Fleet upgrades

Southeastern’s Engineering Director, Mark Johnson, said:

“Southeastern is committed to delivering better, more reliable and more sustainable services, supported by the fastest domestic passenger trains in the UK.

“With this refurbishment we’re going to make the experience for our passengers even better. Carpets, seats and sides have all been stripped down, repainted or replaced, with a whole new look and feel, improving the accessibility of the train at the same time for all of our customers.

“This is just the beginning of the programme, as later in the year we’re upgrading the passenger information systems on board all 174 carriages in the high speed fleet, which will bring more benefits to our customers as we improve the way we give people the most up-to-date information about their journeys”.

Paul Sutherland, Client Services Director at Eversholt Rail said:

“We are delighted to see the first upgraded Class 395 train returning into passenger service today. The upgrades being made to this fleet will provide an improved travelling experience for customers in the South East and we look forward to seeing the refurbished trains back in service.”

Jim Brewin, Chief Director UK & Ireland at Hitachi Rail said:

“We are extremely proud to oversee the iconic Javelin fleet interior refurbishment and digital upgrade.

“Working in partnership with Eversholt Rail and Southeastern, the Hitachi team are doing an incredible job transforming these trains so passengers get a new and improved experience, which builds on 13 years of high speed performance and industry leading reliability.

“I am equally excited at the opportunity to make the UK’s fastest domestic passenger fleet, one of the most digitally advanced. Adopting Hitachi’s infrastructure monitoring solution on Javelin trains will automate overhead line inspection to minimise disruption and reduce maintenance costs, while ensuring the fleet remains at the cutting-edge of UK train innovation.


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