Posted 8th January 2020 | 5 Comments

Alstom and Avanti West Coast sign Pendolino deal

A CONTRACT to refurbish the 56 Class 390 Pendolinos on Avanti West Coast has been agreed with Alstom, which will carry out the work at its centre in Widnes.

The refurbishment deal is worth around £127 million, but Pendolino-builder Alstom will maintain the fleet until 2026, also taking care of the new Hitachi bi-mode trains which are replacing the Voyagers after they have been delivered in two years’ time. When this is taken into account, the contracts are worth a total of £642 million.

Alstom said 100 jobs would be created, and that hundreds of existing engineering jobs will also be secured at main depots in Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxley and Wembley.

Avanti West Coast managing director Phil Whittingham said: ‘The Pendolino is an iconic passenger train and we’re delighted to be giving it a new lease of life,’ while Alstom UK managing director Nick Crossfield added: ‘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.’

Although the first batch of tilting Alstom Pendolinos built at Washwood Heath in Birmingham were late arriving, they began to carry passengers in late 2002.

Their top speed of 140mph (225km/h) was based on Railtrack’s frustrated ambitions for West Coast Modernisation, and has never been used in normal service.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • David Cook, Broadstone, Dorset

    I assume the upgrade is to replace comfy seats with ironing boards like we have to endure on GWR class 800 series. Presumably this is to either increase capacity (more seats can be squeezed in any given space when decent padding is replaced with water thin plastic, or it's so people standing are not so irritated as sitting is basically as uncomfortable as standing.....

  • andy ganley, sutton

    So spend hundreds of millions on rancid Pendolino's and even more rancid Hitachi rubbish then dump classic luxury HST's in sidings that could be still running with a fraction of costs what a way to run a railway

  • Dave, milton keynes

    Shame there not being lengthened up to 12 cars and speed not increase to 135 mph (which could be done ay not a high cost), but this still may happen.

  • Dunstan Vavasour, Rugby

    I hope they can do something about the Pendolino Pong. Some days you walk onto the concourse at Euston and it smells like a public lavatory.

  • Allan Ralston, Warrington

    It wasn't really Railtrack's ambition, it was Virgin's. Railtrack were tied down to provide the 140mph in contracts written up by Virgin, they couldn't do it, costs spiralled on the WCML upgrade and the rest is history!
    [When the Rail Regulator issued his response to the Railtrack prospectus on 3 April 1996 (Railtrack was floated on the Stock Exchange shortly afterwards) he included this statement: "West Coast Main Line 22. I attach great importance to Railtrack developing and implementing an effective strategy for the renewal, and to the appropriate extent, upgrading of the West Coast Main Line." This was before Virgin had even won the Intercity West Coast contract, although I agree that Railtrack later entered into the agreement with Virgin for PUG2. Even so, I think 'Railtrack's ambition' is a fair description.--Ed.]