Britain’s most iconic train fleet is to undergo a major refurbishment that will create scores of high-skilled engineering jobs and secure hundreds more roles throughout the UK.
In a boost to the manufacturing sector, all 56 electric Pendolino trains deployed on the West Coast Mainline will be overhauled in a £642m, seven-year deal signed between the route’s new operator, Avanti West Coast, and Alstom which built the fleet.
As well as covering a £127m upgrade of the Pendolinos, which is believed to be the biggest train upgrade programme ever undertaken in the UK, the deal will see Alstom maintain them until 2026 alongside a new train fleet recently ordered from Hitachi.
The first of the revolutionary tilting Pendolino trains entered service on the London to Glasgow route in January 2003. The overhaul will focus on onboard facilities, with passengers benefitting from more comfortable seating, improvements to the shop, revamped toilets, better lighting, new interiors, and the installation of at-seat chargers and improved Wi-Fi throughout. Performance will also be improved through new maintenance programmes.
The deal will create 100 high-skilled roles, mostly based at Alstom’s Transport and Technology Centre in Widnes, with hundreds more existing engineering jobs secured at key depots in Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxley and Wembley.
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, said: “In the Liverpool City Region, we’re trying to create a fair and inclusive economy where local people benefit from investment. The Combined Authority have provided £3.4m in funding to help Alstom open their ground breaking facility in Halton. I’m really pleased that – because of this brand new facility – local people will benefit through jobs and apprenticeships for years to come through projects like this.”
Managing Director of Avanti West Coast, Phil Whittingham, said: “The Pendolino is an iconic passenger train and we’re delighted to be giving it a new lease of life. This deal will improve the experience of passengers and ensure the fleet can continue to serve communities up and down the west coast route in the years ahead.”
Nick Crossfield, Managing Director, Alstom UK & Ireland added: “Alstom are proud to have been trusted by First Trenitalia to maintain the Avanti West Coast fleet and upgrade the Pendolino trains. Over the last 15 years these trains have revolutionised travel for passengers, with faster and more frequent services.
“Passengers can now look forward to a new chapter in this story with Avanti West Coast, and with this contract in place, Alstom can look forward to investing even more in high quality jobs and apprenticeships as we deliver these improvements.”
Alan Lowe, CFO of Angel Trains which leases the fleet to Avanti West Coast, said: “The refurbishment of the Avanti West Coast fleet will dramatically improve passenger experience and create highly-skilled jobs in local communities, so we’re delighted to be supporting First Trenitalia and Alstom as this exciting project commences. Angel Trains is committed to investing in the modernisation of UK Rail and this transformative project will ensure that Pendolino trains reflect the evolving needs of today’s passengers and continue to be an iconic part of our railways.”
Avanti West Coast
Press Office 0845 000 3333
About Avanti West Coast
Avanti West Coast, operator of intercity rail services on the West Coast Main Line, is a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia, delivering a cleaner, greener railway that drives the West Coast forward.
We’re on a mission to revolutionise train travel, linking together the towns and major cities of the UK to create an iconic railway the country can be proud of. We’ve got big plans including a fleet of new intercity trains, as well as the complete refurbishment of the existing Pendolino train fleet. There will be 263 more train services every week by 2022 with new routes added, and a much-improved onboard service with enhanced free Wi-Fi, plug sockets, 25,000 brand new seats and improved catering. Since 8 December, passengers have benefited from improved passenger compensation, available for journeys delayed by just 15 minutes.
FirstGroup plc (LSE: FGP.L) is a leading provider of transport services in the UK and North America. With £7.1 billion in revenue and around 100,000 employees, we transported 2.2 billion passengers last year. Whether for business, education, health, social or recreation – we get our customers where they want to be, when they want to be there. We create solutions that reduce complexity, making travel smoother and life easier.
We provide easy and convenient mobility, improving quality of life by connecting people and communities. Each of our five divisions is a leader in its field: In North America, First Student is the largest provider of home-to-school student transportation with a fleet of 42,500 yellow school buses, First Transit is one of the largest providers of outsourced transit management and contracting services, while Greyhound is the only nationwide operator of scheduled intercity coaches. In the UK, First Bus is one of Britain's largest bus companies with 1.6 million passengers a day, and First Rail is one of the country's largest and most experienced rail operators, carrying 345 million passengers last year. Visit www.firstgroupplc.com and follow us @firstgroupplc on Twitter.
Trenitalia is Italy’s primary rail operator and one of the leading railway operators in Europe with presence also in France, Germany and Greece. In UK through its subsidiary Trenitalia UK the Group runs c2c franchisee. Trenitalia is the only high-speed operator in the world that faces domestic rail competition while giving exceptional service to its customers and producing revenues of over €5.37bn. Trenitalia offers two major services: high-speed rail and regional transport. The company is best known for its iconic Frecciarossa high-speed services.
Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, the ultimate shareholder of Trenitalia, is the main Italian transport company with €58bn of investments in its business plan for 2019-2023. The Group is contributing to the overall investment volume in the country and supporting the development and the improvement of the transport, infrastructure, logistics and tourism sectors. FS Italiane’s operating revenue grew to €12bn in 2018, producing an EBITDA of €2.5bn with a net result of €560m.
Leading the way to greener and smarter mobility worldwide, Alstom develops and markets integrated systems that provide the sustainable foundations for the future of transportation. Alstom offers a complete range of equipment and services, from high-speed trains, metros, trams and e-buses to integrated systems, customised services, infrastructure, signalling and digital mobility solutions. Alstom recorded sales of €8.1 billion and booked orders of €12.1 billion in the 2018/19 fiscal year. Headquartered in France, Alstom is present in over 60 countries and employs 36,300 people.
About Angel Trains
Angel Trains is one of Britain’s leading train leasing companies and has been an owner and lessor of rolling stock since 1994. The company leases to 18 franchised operators and two open access operators in the UK.
Angel Trains is passionate about financing and delivering high quality, modern assets to its customers and is committed to working with the Government, the Rail Delivery Group ("RDG") and other stakeholders to provide innovative funding solutions to modernise and improve the UK's train fleet. Angel Trains has invested £5.0 billion in new rolling stock and refurbishment programmes since 1994 and is one of the largest private investors in the industry.