UK: Unit 377 430 is the first Electrostar electric multiple-unit to return to service following refurbishment under Govia Thameslink Railway’s fleet modernisation programme.
The £55m programme known as Project Aurora covers 214 Bombardier Transportation Class 377 Electrostar trainsets operated on Southern services, and 56 similar Class 387 units used on Gatwick Express and Great Northern services. It is being funded by leasing company Porterbrook, with the work undertaken at GTR’s Selhurst depot.
Porterbrook CEO Mary Grant said the leading company would be spending a total of £100m upgrading GTR’s entire Electrostar fleet over the coming years, with the initial £55m programme providing ‘significantly enhanced’ passenger facilities and improved reliability.
Changes include the installation of screens showing live GTR and London Underground service information, the provision of USB and power points, energy-saving LED lighting and a passenger counting system which will enable GTR to analyse how busy individual services are.
Performance monitoring and fault diagnosis systems including a ‘smart’ on-train data recorder will predict and diagnose faults to help reduce the time when vehicles are out of service for maintenance or repair.
The project was informed by research into passengers’ priorities which was funded by Porterbrook and undertaken by Transport Focus.
‘These Electrostars are great trains’, said GTR Engineering Director Steve Lammin on February 9. ‘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 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.’