UK: South Western Railway has awarded Siemens contracts worth £50m for the refurbishment of its 45 Class 444 and 127 Class 450 Desiro electric multiple-units.

The Siemens-built units are leased from Angel Trains and maintained by the manufacturer at Northam under a contract which runs until 2025.

The 12-month refurbishment programme is scheduled to get underway in December. The scope of the work to be undertaken at Eastleigh includes full interior refurbishment, with seats reupholstered, toilets renovated, Axminster carpets installed and real-time information displays and at-seat power points for mobile devices fitted. First class will include new leather-covered seats and tables incorporating inductive charging for mobile devices.

Vernon Barker, Managing Director of Rail Systems at Siemens, said the company had worked closely with SWR’s parent companies FirstGroup and MTR during their bid for the current South Western franchise.

‘This significant investment in our fleet will see a step change for our customers, and investment in local facilities and suppliers’, said SWR Engineering Director Neil Drury on November 10. ‘We have a long relationship with Siemens, who I am confident will deliver a high quality product.’