Eversholt Rail, one of Britain’s leading rolling stock companies, this week unveils the new travel experience that East Coast Mainline passengers could enjoy when the franchise is re–let on a long–term basis.
Eversholt Rail is showcasing the fully–refurbished Mark IV carriage it will be offering to Train Operating Companies that bid to take over the Blue Riband route from London to Scotland.
The refurbished carriage, developed in partnership with Atlantic Design, will give passengers new levels of comfort and convenience and franchisee savings estimated at £1bn over the life of the new franchise compared with the cost of leasing brand new rolling stock.
The refurbished Inter–City 225 fleet will also accommodate more passengers and luggage space and will offer train operators greater flexibility and choice without compromising on levels of comfort and quality.
The new look carriages will be refurbished with a large proportion of UK–supplied materials and all of the £120m refurbishment programme itself will be carried out in the UK, safeguarding or creating around 550 jobs.
A full–scale mock–up of the carriage has been displayed for two days this week in central London where Eversholt Rail has taken potential customers, passenger groups and Department for Transport officials on guided tours of the new–look Mark IV carriage. It will then visit York later this month and Edinburgh in the New Year.
Those who have viewed the carriage have been able to experience four classes of travel – Standard, Business, First and a new service that Eversholt Rail is calling Premium First. Seating throughout the carriages will manufactured from a specially–developed silicone foam and upholstered in leather for improved comfort, resilience and durability and reduced maintenance costs.
The new slimline double seat design in Standard class, made from an ultra–light aluminium honeycomb structure, also creates extra passenger space while reducing the track weight of the carriage.
The carriages will also feature ‘fit and forget’ LED lighting throughout, an intelligent ‘traffic light’ seat reservation system and full–colour passenger information screens.
Each newly refurbished 225 will have the capacity to carry 579 passengers – 44 more than the existing fleet – while the refurbished carriages will be more than half a tonne lighter than the current version.
Eversholt Rail is also working on development of an alternative traction system for the Mark IV, the Bombardier Traxx UK, that could be used to deliver improved performance, reduced journey times and operational cost savings.
Mary Kenny, Chief Executive Officer said: “Faced with the competing demands for better performance, increased passenger satisfaction and extra capacity on the one hand and reduced cost on the other, we have developed a solution which demonstrates how all these challenges can be met. We have pushed the limits of the ‘art of the possible’ to produce a carriage which shows how existing rolling stock can be re–invented and which, above all, gives the market a choice when it comes to deciding how best to develop East Coast services.
Our mock–up carriage demonstrates how today’s East Coast fleet can be adapted for tomorrow’s market with all the interior refinement and technology upgrades that you would expect from new build. We look forward to receiving feedback from potential customers and their customers alike.”
Among the other key features of the refurbished carriage are:
Double seat design for more comfort, space and flexibility
Seat backs and tables finished in black birch veneer
At seat power sockets
Four–seat bays with large fixed tables, in line with windows
Bodyside windows with roller blinds
Power sockets and cup retainers
2+1 bay formation
Deep headrest wings for privacy and comfort
Inductive phone charging points
LED accent illumination
Automatic recline and rotate seat function
Deep headrest with winged pillows trimmed in Egyptian cotton
Reclining lower leg support
In addition to Atlantic Design, Eversholt Rail’s UK supply partners on the MkIV mock–up include Transcal (upholstery), McGeoch Technology (Lighting), Replin (Fabrics) Andrew Muirhead (Leather) and Axminster (Carpets). The mock–up was built by Solve 3D in Bedford.
Next year, Eversholt Rail will be also be unveiling a refurbished and upgraded carriage for the Greater Anglia franchise competition. The four–car Class 321 demonstrator is being refurbished by Wabtec Rail and will go into service on the Greater Anglia network, showcasing a range of interior improvements. Eversholt is also developing a new traction system for the 321 that will improve performance and energy efficiency. Assuming a 15–year franchise, Eversholt Rail estimates that the refurbished Class 321 would generate operational savings of £400m–£500m compared with the cost of replacing the existing fleet with new Electric Multiple Units. The demonstrator train will contain two distinct interiors – one for inner suburban routes and the other for outer suburban journeys.