£100m GTR Electrostar upgrades reach milestone

Porterbrook, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Alstom have completed the initial phase of a £100m comprehensive Electrostar modernisation programme, with 75 Class 377/4 trains now upgraded.

The project is funded by Porterbrook, the owner of the UK’s biggest fleet of Electrostars.

New features for passengers on the trains include modern information screens, at-seat charging and power points and high-tech engineering features designed to streamline maintenance and improve reliability.

The passenger priorities were identified in research led by Transport Focus and funded by Porterbrook. Once completed, a total of 270 trains will have been upgraded at GTR's depot in Selhurst.

GTR’s Engineering Director Steve Lammin said: “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. With collaboration from Alstom and Porterbrook, our team at Selhurst Depot has developed and streamlined a process of stripping out a train’s seats, interior panels and old wiring, installing all the new features, refitting seats and panels, testing and returning to service, at a rate of just one week per train.

“Well over a quarter of the fleet has now been through the programme, and more and more passengers will notice the benefits over the coming years. I’m really pleased that GTR is working with Porterbrook and Alstom to build a better railway for our customers.”

Ben Ackroyd, Chief Operating Officer at Porterbrook said: “Porterbrook’s £100m investment programme to upgrade the Electrostar fleet, operated by GTR, highlights our commitment to providing an improved passenger experience with better information displays, more access to plug sockets and efficient LED lighting. The installation of Automated Passenger Counting now provides insight into real time demand on service.

“From an infrastructure perspective, Forward-Facing CCTV and enhanced GPS feeds enable remote monitoring of track conditions. This can help deliver improved network performance and reliability by reducing the need for dedicated track inspection vehicles and allows rail staff to assess conditions flexibly.”

Peter Broadley, Managing Director of Services at Alstom UK & Ireland said: “It is great to see the Electrostars get a new lease of life, fit for purpose for the next phase of their operations. Working closely with our partners at GTR and Porterbrook we have created a great product which significantly enhances the customer experience across the GTR network. I’m looking forward to successfully completing the project in a little over two years from now.”