If you live in the area operated by Southern, Gatwick Express or Great Northern trains, there may be some good news ahead as the Govia Thameslink Railway is planning to update its fleet of trains.
The upgrade will be completed on two classes of trains:
- Class 377 trains, which are used by Southern Railway with 214 trainsets, connecting London, Surrey, Sussex and the south coast
- Class 387 trains, which are used by Gatwick Express between London, Gatwick and Bright, as well as Great Northern services from London Kings Cross
While parts of the fleet, including the Gatwick Express Class 387s, are just five years old, most have been in service for between 15 and 20 years. This upgrade will bring all 270 trains up to the same level of passenger facilities and the latest “smart” on-board diagnostic systems.
The installation work will be carried out GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway) engineers will install features called for by passengers in recent research led by Transport Focus and funded by Porterbrook. These include USB/power sockets and on-board real-time information through media screens. The trains will also be fitted with new energy-saving LED lighting to make them more environmentally friendly.
To improve reliability, the trains will be fitted with an upgraded on-Train data recorder that will help predict and diagnose faults and streamline maintenance.
Passenger-counting technology will also be fitted, to allow GTR to better analyse how busy trains are, further helping to support social distancing.
New forward-facing CCTV cameras will help GTR and Network Rail investigate incidents that have delayed the service that day.
GTR’s Engineering Director Steve Lammin said:
“Taking on board our passengers’ feedback, this multi-faceted upgrade by our own team at Selhurst Depot will provide a better on-board experience and more reliability.
“I’m really pleased that GTR is working with Porterbrook and Bombardier to deliver this improvement programme that will continue to ‘build back’ a better railway for our customers.”
Mary Grant, Porterbrook CEO, said: “
We are committed to helping GTR meet the needs of its travelling customers. This is why Porterbrook are investing £55 million in the Electrostar fleet to significantly enhance passenger facilities and improve reliability using digital analytics. These are excellent and popular trains and I am delighted that their upgrade will be undertaken by GTR’s own workforce at Selhurst Depot.”
Not long to wait
The first train to enjoy the full update is expected to emerge from GTR’s Selhurst Depot in the autumn. When the programme is in full swing, GTR’s engineers, guided by the trains’ manufacturer Bombardier, will be working on a constant one-per-week stream of trains.
For passengers, the add convenience of being able to charge your phone on the go, as well as some of the other technology to bring these units up to date will be welcome, as travel continues to adapt.
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