Porterbrook Leasing has signed a contract with Stagecoach South West (SSW) to reconfigure the Class 458 fleet into 5-car units and to create 6 additional units by incorporating equipment from the Class 460 fleet which was previously used on the Gatwick Express services.
The new fleet of 36 5-car units will be known as Class 458/5.
This new fleet of trains will form part of the rolling stock element of SSW HLOS solution and will deliver 10-car services on certain routes.
The modification work has been contracted to Alstom who in turn will use Wabtec Rail to undertake the physical work.
The new vehicles will be brought into service in the spring of 2013, with the final train scheduled for delivery in spring 2014.
Up to 92% of the material content of the project will be sourced from the UK supply chain.
Doncaster based-Wabtec will carry out various carbody structure work to convert the fleets, under Alstom design and management.
Alstom is recruiting around twelve engineers in order to provide a team of twenty five dedicated to supporting the conversion project.
The deal enables Alstom to develop its skilled team dedicated to train modernisation, based predominantly in the Midlands with support from the company’s parts and supply chain management site in Preston.
The total cost of the project will be almost £42m.
Only 4 of the original Class 460 vehicles will remain unused however spares recovered from these vehicles will be used to support the new fleet.
Commenting on the contract, Paul Francis, Managing Director said:
“The deal on Class 458/5 clearly demonstrates the important role of rolling stock lessors in providing flexible commercial and engineering solutions to rolling stock provision alongside the purchase of new trains.
“In this case Porterbrook is investing £42m to deliver an important HLOS commitment for our customer SSW.
“This increased rolling stock capacity will be delivered with only three years remaining of the franchise but Porterbrook can underwrite this long term investment.”
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Terence Watson, Managing Director of Alstom Transport in the UK and Ireland, said:
“We look forward to bringing Alstom’s local expertise to the fore in this key project that shows how industry partners can work well together to provide innovative, value for money proposals to meet rolling stock requirements.”