Train company TransPennine Express (TPE), and train manufacture and rail service provider Siemens, welcomed Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, to York to showcase the £32 million major upgrade in its current fleet of trains.
The Secretary of State was joined by TPE’s Managing Director, Leo Goodwin, and Siemens’ Fleet Operations Director for the North, Pete Redding, at the Leeman Road railway depot in York to see one of TPE’s Class 185 fleet of trains going through a major upgrade. TPE are working with Siemens, and train owner Eversholt Rail, to create a greatly improved experience for customers through a major refurbishment programme of all 51 trains.
The programme means that every train in the fleet will receive the modern makeover before July next year, with one train currently being upgraded every week. The experience for customers across the North on these refurbished trains is something special, with real practical benefits including: free, fast Wi-Fi and on-board entertainment; standard plug and USB sockets at every pair of seats, both in standard and first class; bigger tables to allow more space for laptops and devices; refitted toilets; and LED lighting throughout.
Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, commented: “The trains being refurbished will improve journeys for thousands of rail users across the region through new facilities including fast Wi-Fi, larger tables, new toilets, LED lighting, USB sockets and on-board entertainment systems. Through the Great North Rail Project, we are bringing about the biggest improvements to railways in the region for a generation including 500 new carriages, room for 40,000 extra passengers and more than 2,000 extra services a week.”
Leo Goodwin, TPE’s Managing Director, said: “I’m delighted to be able to show the Secretary of State first-hand the major upgrade that we are giving to our current Class 185 fleet of trains. The difference that our customers are now seeing with the refurbished trains is special, and is a big leap forward in the on-board experience that we provide. This is just the start though, and in the next two years we will introduce 44 brand new trains, allowing us to achieve our vision of ‘taking the North further’, meaning more seats, better reliability, and more comfortable, enjoyable and productive journeys here in the North.”
David Hoggarth, Rail North Director, commented: “These refurbishments are further evidence of a raft of enhancements being delivered to rail users in the North as part of the Great North Rail Project that are really beginning to make a difference to people’s lives. The rail franchises of the North are now accelerating an ambitious programme of change which, over the next 12 months, will become more and more evident. Rail North, working with the DfT, will continue to support our train operating companies in ensuring this programme is delivered.”
Pete Redding, Siemens’ Fleet Operations Director for the North, said: “Making sure that our trains remain at the forefront of customer satisfaction in terms of technology and passenger comfort has always been a top priority for Siemens. We are delivering this project from our York traincare facility which has been specially modified for these works – and future-proofed for other projects of this nature. Our team is working with numerous local suppliers to refurbish a unit every nine days. By the end of the year, 18 of the new-look trains will be back in service. We are really proud of the work we are achieving alongside TPE and our project partners to deliver an improved travelling experience for our passengers in the North.”