Above: The refurbishment of South West Trains Class 455s by Bombardier at Chart Leacon, Ashford, includes a full body repaint to SWT’s inner suburban livery. Below: The removal of some seats as part of the re-work of the 455s has created more standing room, as many journeys are quite short, but passengers can circulate much more easily because of the wider aisles. The left-hand image shows the flexible space for large items, cycles or pushchairs .
CHRIS MILNER examines the multi-million pound process of train refurbishment and rebranding – now big business in the privatised railway industry
taking out some standard class seats to create more standing room. As part of its Class 455 refurbishment, it created wider aisles by removing seating and made more space for prams, cycles and other odd-shaped objects. While such initiatives may not be ideal, they are the often the best solution to the problem. In the case of Southern’s recently-acquired Class 442s, another engineering challenge was the need for new windows to be cut into the bodyside. Over at First Great Western, one of the problems is the sheer number of commuters to London from Reading, Oxford, Didcot, Swindon and even Bristol, along routes on which HSTs are the main workhorses. The HST interiors were looking tired and had inadequate capacity, and the power cars were smoky and fuel-hungry. Working with German engine manufacturer MTU and Brush Traction, FGW,
Above: The gutted interior of an SWT Class 455 carriage before the rebuilding work begins.
Left: To comply with disability regulation changes, part of the refurbishment of HST trailer cars for CrossCountry included the challenge of building an accessible toilet in the train. The picture shows how this large facility has been installed in the first class carriage. The train also carries a portable wheelchair ramp. CROSS COUNTRY TRAINS
April 2009 • The Railway Magazine • 25