270 trains to benefit from ￡55 million modernisation programme
GTR and Porterbrook’s Project Aurora will see the fleet updated to include real-time passenger information, charging points and performance monitoring technology for improved reliability.
Installing power and charging points
Improvements will include real-time passenger information screens and USB/power points to high-tech on-board operation systems, with 270 trains being modernised in total.
The trains, owned by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Porterbrook, include 214 Class 377s that provide suburban and commuter services on the Southern network between London, Surrey, Sussex and the south coast, and 56 Class 387s working on Great Northern or Gatwick Express routes.
With most having been in service for between 15 and 20 years, this upgrade will bring all 270 trains up to the same specification of passenger facilities and smart on-board diagnostic systems.
Recent research led by Transport Focus has provided passenger feedback as to the features they most want to see improved. As well as plans for GTR’s engineers to install USB/power sockets and on-board real-time information through media screens, the trains will also be fitted with new energy-saving LED lighting.
An upgraded on-Train data recorder will be fitted to help predict and diagnose faults and streamline maintenance. Still focusing on reliability, new forward-facing CCTV cameras will help GTR and Network Rail investigate incidents that have delayed the service that day.
In addition, new passenger counting technology will allow GTR to better analyse how busy trains are, which naturally has added benefits in supporting social distancing in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
GTR’s Engineering Director Steve Lammin commented: “Taking on board our passengers’ feedback, this multi-faceted upgrade by our own team at Selhurst Depot will provide a better on-board experience and more reliability.
The first fully updated train is expected to emerge from the Selhurst Depot in the autumn of 2020. When the programme is in full swing, GTR’s engineers, guided by the trains’ manufacturer Bombardier, will be working on a constant one-per-week stream of trains.