New West Coast rail franchise holders, Avanti West Coast , have awarded the contract for upgrading and maintaining their fleet of trains to Alstom.
The seven-year contract is worth £640 million, and will create 100 engineering jobs nationwide, principally in the North West, at Alstom’s Transport and Technology Centre in Widnes, as well as in their Liverpool and Manchester depots.
Alstom originally built the fleet of 56 Pendolinos that entered service in 2003, and will be responsible for upgrading the trains for Avanti West Coast. The £127 million upgrade programme is believed to be the largest ever such project in the UK. The planned improvements focus on onboard facilities, including at-seat chargers, better lighting and new interiors including more comfortable seating an revamped toilets. The on-board Wi-Fi service will also get an upgrade.
Alstom have also been awarded the maintenance and repair contract for the new train fleet which Avanti West Coast have recently ordered from Hitachi: the 23 new trains are due to come into service by 2022.
Nick Crossfield, Managing Director, Alstom UK & Ireland said:
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.”
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.”
Avanti West Coast took over the franchise from Virgin Trains on 8th December 2019, and are run in partnership by First and the Italian high-speed rail operator, Trenitalia.