First Capital Connect’s fleet of Class 365 trains is to be transformed with fresh interiors and enhanced accessibility features as part of a £31m investment which will also include heavy maintenance to ensure their continued reliability.
The trains carry many of the 86,000 passengers travelling daily with First Capital Connect (FCC) on the Great Northern route between London Kings Cross and Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn. Eversholt Rail Group leases the trains to FCC and is funding the work, which will be carried out by Railcare at its Wolverton plant. The refresh will coincide with the scheduled major overhaul of the trains which will ensure their continued reliability.
The first new–look train is expected to enter service at the end of 2013.
The new–look trains will deliver significant improvements to the passenger environment with renewed finishes throughout. Further details are to be released later.
From early 2014, to improve accessibility and bring the trains in line with the latest disability regulations the following changes will be additionally made (and later retrofitted to those trains already refreshed):
A new wheelchair-accessible toilet in each 4-carriage unit (to the latest specification and easier to use than that already in place)
Two spaces for wheelchairs instead of one, with companion seating
A new fully automated passenger information system with audio announcements as well as visual.
The full programme will take three and a half years.
David Statham, Managing Director, First Capital Connect, said: “Everything our passengers tell us shows that a clean and comfortable travelling environment is one of their key concerns. This major investment in one of our biggest fleets of trains will give us just that – a brighter, new–look train cabin with better information and better facilities for people with disabilities.”
Mary Kenny , Chief Executive Officer, Eversholt Rail (UK) Ltd said: “We are delighted to be funding this investment in the Class 365 fleet and helping to improve the journey experience for FCC’s passengers. We believe refurbishment is an efficient way of bringing benefits to both the train operators and users.”
Jamie Borgeat, Commercial Director for Railcare, said: “This project is a fantastic example of joined–up thinking; taking the opportunity to invest in additional refresh work and ensure the trains meet the latest PRM standards whilst they are undergoing a scheduled C6 overhaul makes great sense and reduces downtime. We are committed to ensuring that we deliver the trains back into reliable passenger service on time.”