Skip to main content

Avanti West Coast begins the UK’s biggest ever train fleet upgrade

Last weekend, Avanti West Coast began the UK’s biggest ever train fleet upgrade, as work gets underway to refurbish the first Pendolino as part of the £117m project.

The project will transform all 56 of our iconic Pendolinos. The trains are widely regarded as the UK’s hardest working train fleet, clocking up more than 270 million miles since they were launched in 2002/03 – enough to go to the moon and back more than 500 times. Train number 390125, the first to enter the refurbishment project, has travelled over 5.1 million miles.

The Pendolinos have served routes between London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, and Edinburgh for close to 20 years and the upgrade will return the whole Pendolino fleet to an ‘as new’ condition.

Customer improvements include:

  • Replacing 25,000 Standard Class seats;
  • A new onboard Café Bar;
  • Improved lighting and new interior carpets;
  • Greater use of technology with customer friendly passenger information screens;
  • Additional luggage space;
  • Power points at every seat;
  • Refurbished toilets.

The project will also involve converting one First Class carriage on each of the 35 eleven-carriage Pendolinos to provide more than 2,000 extra Standard class seats. A refurbished 11 carriage Pendolino will have 607 seats; 508 will be in Standard Class, up from the current 444 (an increase of 9.6%), and the remaining 99 will be split across First and Standard Premium.

Rail manufacturer Alstom will oversee the refurbishment at their new depot in Widnes in the North West securing 100 skilled jobs. The first train is due to re-enter service in late 2021, with the upgrade project running until February 2024 when the last of the 56 strong fleet is expected to leave Widnes.

UK suppliers will benefit from 80% of the £117m investment, which is supported by Angel Trains, one of the UK’s leading train Asset Management companies.

The refurbishment of the Pendolinos is just one of the many changes taking place on Avanti West Coast. Our ground-breaking Standard Premium has already been introduced, as has at-seat ordering. Our refurbished Pendolinos will also be joined by our brand-new fleet of Hitachi trains which will replace the diesel Voyagers throughout 2023.

Watch the train arriving onto the depot here