First train in GTR’s £55 million fleet modernisation programme is back in service

East Midlands Railway introduces first of new regional train fleet

East Midlands railway are updating their passenger facilities, including free WiFi for its passengers.

The first of 270 trains in Govia Thameslink Railways £55 million fleet modernisation programme has returned to service with an upgrade of new features.

The trains from the UK’s biggest fleet of ‘Electrostars’, the most common type of electric-powered train built since rail privatisation in the 1990s. The air-conditioned  Derby-built trains have been extremely successful for up to 20 years GTR’s Electrostars have been in service.

On the 5th of February, in South London the first updated train emerged from GTR’s Selhurst Depot. Its improvements range from new information screens, USB/power points and energy-saving LED lighting to passenger-counting technology and high-tech on-board operational systems that cut the time trains spend out of service for maintenance or repair.

The screens will display up to the minute GTR and London Underground service information. To recognise GTR to better analyse how busy individual services are, helping adjust timetables to support essential travel and social distancing, they use specific passenger-counting sensors.

For GTR engineers to streamline routine maintenance and repairs, they bring every train up to the same modern standards, with common features across the whole fleet. That keeps each Electrostar out in service for longer, reducing delays and cancellations. To accelerate maintenance and improve reliability still further, a new “smart” On-Train Data Recorder will help predict and diagnose faults – which means several issues can be fixed without going back to the depot – and CCTV cameras will film the track in front of the train to help analyse incidents that hold up the service.

Porterbrook, the train owner from whom GTR leases the fleets, funded the £55 million programme.

“These Electrostars are great trains. Taking on board our passengers’ feedback, this comprehensive upgrade will provide an even better on-board experience and more reliability. Our team at Selhurst Depot has used this first train to develop and learn all the complex processes involved in fitting the new features, guided by the trains’ manufacturer, Bombardier. We’re now testing our new knowledge on the second train, and as we gradually speed up the work, more and more passengers will notice the benefits over the coming years. (Steve Lammin, 2021)

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