Many people rely on train services for various reasons, from business to pleasure. Whether you are commuting to an important interview or going to see a friend, a delayed train can cause a whole host of problems for you. Passengers have complained about the lack of smart technology on trains for years. Fortunately, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has heard our cries and worked to resolve the issue.
GTR and leasing company Porterbrook are launching a £55 million fleet modification programme to be carried out over the next five years. Porterbrook will be invested a total of £100 million in the train upgrade, making them a significant part of the operation.
The plan is to modernise the Southern Railway, Gatwick Express and Great Northern ‘Electrostar’ trains, making up a staggering 270 trains. These are the most common type of electric-powered train built since rail privatisation in the 1990s. The original trains were built with air-conditioning, making them a lifesaver in the hot London summer commute. It’s no doubt that these trains have been an enormous success over the last 20 years, but it is time to give them a bit of love and TLC.
The aim is to launch the first upgraded train this autumn and continue on a one-per-week basis. The trains include 214 class 377s, commonly used by commuter services in the Southern network between London and the south coast. The remaining 56 trains are 387s operating between Great Northern and Gatwick Express services. The trains cover a vast amount of land, and hopefully, London’s commuter population will be thankful for this well-needed upgrade.
GTR has based the upgraded features on passenger feedback provided by Transport Focus research. There will be improvements to help assist with the maintenance of trains, which will ultimately improve the train system’s reliability. How will they do this? An On-Train Data Recorder will predict and diagnose the train faults, meaning fewer trips back to the depot. The depot is where trains spend long periods getting fixed, causing services to be delayed and sometimes eliminated altogether.
With fewer train cancellations and delays, commuters can enjoy a less stressful journey to work every day. Unfortunately, train services alone can’t eliminate the stress of travelling every morning.
There will also be real-time passenger information screens, USB power access and energy-saving LED lighting on the trains. Millennials and Gen-Zers are calling out for more eco-conscious travel, and reducing lighting energy is a step in the right direction. There will even be passenger counting technology to help commuters identify jam-packed trains. High tech operational systems will also be on board to streamline the train experience. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it?
2021 is full of new and exciting opportunities that you can reach through brand-new trains.