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Alstom and Avanti West Coast sign Pendolino deal

A CONTRACT to refurbish the 56 Class 390 Pendolinos on Avanti West Coast has been agreed with Alstom, which will carry out the work at its centre in Widnes.

The refurbishment deal is worth around £127 million, but Pendolino-builder Alstom will maintain the fleet until 2026, also taking care of the new Hitachi bi-mode trains which are replacing the Voyagers after they have been delivered in two years’ time. When this is taken into account, the contracts are worth a total of £642 million.

Alstom said 100 jobs would be created, and that hundreds of existing engineering jobs will also be secured at main depots in Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxley and Wembley.

Avanti West Coast managing director Phil Whittingham said: ‘The Pendolino is an iconic passenger train and we’re delighted to be giving it a new lease of life,’ while Alstom UK managing director Nick Crossfield added: ‘Alstom are proud to have been trusted by First Trenitalia to maintain the Avanti West Coast fleet and upgrade the Pendolino trains. Over the last 15 years these trains have revolutionised travel for passengers, with faster and more frequent services.’

Although the first batch of tilting Alstom Pendolinos built at Washwood Heath in Birmingham were late arriving, they began to carry passengers in late 2002.

Their top speed of 140mph (225km/h) was based on Railtrack’s frustrated ambitions for West Coast Modernisation, and has never been used in normal service.

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