Angel Trains has signed a £6 million contract for the re-traction of 317722 as a trial unit in the hope that the fleet can be developed as an alternative to new trains.

The re-traction work will take place at the same time as a £1 million interior refurbishment of two vehicles of the same unit.

The new traction package, which will be installed at Ilford depot and include regenerative braking, aims to improve reliability and reduce maintenance costs.

Work will commence in August/September 2013.

Bombardier’s Propulsion and Controls business unit in Sweden will design the new traction unit, with Bombardier Transportation UK Limited undertaking the integration, installation and testing.

The interiors will be refurbished in a Metro style layout and provide a direct contrast to the 3+2 and 2+2 seating currently in use.

Trials, to test the reaction of passengers, will commence in November 2013 and continue until March 2014. If the new interior gets a positive reaction the full 317 fleet could be refurbished by the end of 2017.


  1. Interesting! Due to the ongoing delays in finalising the Thameslink order with Siemens, it presently seems unlikely that Class 319s would be available for cascading when the North West electrification schemes are complete. There was a strong rumour doing the rounds that surplus Class 317s would therefore be transferred to Northern (or it’s successor) but it is now possible that these may be retained in the South East, leaving second-generation DMUs to soldier on under the wires between Manchester and Liverpool etc..

  2. Good news.  Arguably none of the EMUs that the UK rail network has need to be replaced due to age.   We don’t need fancy new trains, we want a low cost network.

    • With the North West Triangle, Great Western, Midland Main Line and others now to be wired, new electric trains have to be ordered as, presently, there are simply not enough to go round. No matter how often they are refurbished, the current fleet of EMUs cannot run for ever and will eventually need replacing. If you use the argument that nothing needs to be replaced, we would still have slam-door trains hauled by steam locomotives!

      • “. If you use the argument that nothing needs to be replaced, we would still have slam-door trains hauled by steam locomotives!”

        I don’t have that argument – I did not state what you infer that I might have.

        ” there are simply not enough to go round.”

        Yes there are, with the IEP in progress.

        • You were inferring that none of the current EMUs need to be replaced due to age. I agree that total refurbishment can indeed extend their lives but I am saying that there is only so far you can go before they become life-expired and new trains then have to be built. I accept that the IEP programme will result in new trains being available for the Great Western and East Coast. Also,refurbished Class 319s will eventually move on to local services in both North West and Great Western but there may come a time, when Midland Main Line and other lines are electrified that new-build EMUs WILL be needed.

  3. Class 317/7 trains should on Abellio Greater Anglia Services from London Liverpool Street to Cambridge, Ely & Kings Lynn and some services from London Liverpool Street to Hertford East and from Stratford to Bishop’s Stortford