Eversholt Rail has awarded Bombardier Transportation a two–year contract worth in excess of £30 million to undertake the enhancement and heavy maintenance of its fleet of Class 365 trains which are leased to First Capital Connect (FCC).
The work to upgrade the fleet, which carries passengers on FCC’s Great Northern Route, will be undertaken at Bombardier’s Ilford site in Essex, ensuring that the work will remain in the UK.
Eversholt Rail had originally placed an order to maintain Class 365 trains with Railcare. However, the work was put out to re–tender after Railcare entered administration on 31 July 2013.
Reaching this agreement enables work on the Class 365 fleet to resume, with a view to recovering the programme as quickly as possible and delivering the first refreshed train back to FCC. Eversholt Rail took the opportunity to include under–frame heavy maintenance within the scope of the contract to maximise the availability of the 40 four–car fleet.
The Class 365 fleet carries many of the 86,000 passengers travelling daily on the Great Northern Route between London Kings Cross and Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn. This significant investment will see the trains transformed with refreshed interiors and fully automated passenger information systems.
The first train is expected to enter service by early 2014 delivering significant improvements to the passenger environment. Additional accessibility work will be undertaken from spring 2014 bringing the trains in line with the latest disability regulations. The following improvements will be made (and retrofitted to those trains already refurbished):
Two wheelchair bays installed;
A new wheelchair–accessible toilet in each 4–carriage unit;
A new fully automated passenger information system with audio and visual announcements;
Call for aid installed at wheelchair and toilet areas.
Mary Kenny, Chief Executive Officer of Eversholt Rail, said: “We are pleased to have selected Bombardier Transportation. This means that we can continue with our programme to refresh the Class 365 trains, enabling passengers to enjoy the benefits of the improved fleet. We will continue to look at future opportunities to work with Knorr–Bremse Rail Services, the new owners of Railcare.”
David Statham, Managing Director, First Capital Connect, said “I am delighted that our passengers will soon be able to enjoy a more comfortable and modern travel environment as well as a more reliable service. This major investment will deliver brighter, new look trains with much better on–board information. Enhanced accessibility features will also be made to meet the needs of all our passengers.”
Francis Paonessa, Chairman of Bombardier Transportation UK, said: “This investment in the Class 365 fleet allows Bombardier to build on its strategic relationship with Eversholt Rail Group. It is a vote of confidence in our asset maintenance and upgrade capabilities and in the skills of our people in Ilford.”