UK: ESG Rail has been awarded a turnkey contract to modify Class 455 electric multiple-units which Govia Thameslink Railway leases from Eversholt Rail to bring them into compliance with the Persons with Reduced Mobility Technical Specification for Interoperability.

The work on the 46 four-car ex-British Rail third-rail EMUs used on GTR’s Southern-branded services is to be undertaken in January and February 2018. The project builds on a previous contract for ESG to design the modifications needed for them to continue in service beyond the Department for Transport’s January 1 2020 deadline for PRM TSI compliance.

The changes will include the installation of new door buttons and sounder units, a PRM compliant seating layout and inter-vehicle gangway door lever handles developed by ESG.

‘While our modernisation plans have seen the introduction of many classes of new, fully-accessible rolling stock, it is just as important that we make our existing trains accessible for all’, said GTR Engineering Director Gerry McFadden. ‘This project will make a huge difference to passengers with restricted mobility, visual and hearing impairments.’

Announcing the contract on November 8, Deutsche Bahn subsidiary ESG has said it had undertaken similar design work for Class 165, 166, 465/2, 465/9 and 466 multiple-units. Its previous work with Class 455 EMUs has included the installation of cab cooling, remote condition monitoring, CCTV, energy metering and a driver advisory system.