Porterbrook, the UK rolling stock owner and asset manager, has announced that it has signed a £25 million contract with Alstom to upgrade one of its most versatile electric train fleets. The announcement follows the decision by South Western Railway (SWR) to extend the leases on Porterbrook’s award-winning Class 458 fleet until 2027.
Porterbrook’s contract with Alstom will see the trains uprated to a top speed of 100mph; a complete upgrade of the passenger saloon to meet the needs of long-distance customers; and the reconfiguration of the trains to enable the faster acceleration required to meet established journey times on key routes.
Alstom will undertake this work at the company’s Widnes facility in Cheshire, UK, securing local jobs and protecting key skills. The enhanced Class 458 fleet will be based at SWR’s Bournemouth depot.
Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook, said: “I am delighted that our customer South Western Railway has decided to retain our Class 458 fleet. Partnership is at the heart of our business. To demonstrate this, we will be taking responsibility for the performance of these trains and supporting SWR as they transform South Coast and long-distance services. I am also pleased that our partner Alstom will continue to play an active role in their future. Not only is this good news for SWR passengers, it is also great news for Widnes and Bournemouth, where the railway family at both locations help to keep Britain moving every day.”
Neil Drury, Engineering Director at SWR, said: “This fully refurbished fleet of 458s will provide an even better experience for our customers, while delivering efficient and flexible capacity on our medium range services.”