UK: Leasing company Porterbrook has awarded Bombardier Transportation an £11m contract to modify 12 Class 387 Electrostar electric multiple-units for use on the Heathrow Express shuttle service between London Paddington and the airport.
Last year the airport owner outsourced the operation of the non-franchised premium service to GWR under a contract running to 2028.
GWR is to form a dedicated airport fleet by modifying 12 of the EMUs it currently operates on London commuter services, equipping them with ETCS Level 2 as well as improved seating, additional luggage space, on-board TV and fast wi-fi.
Engineering and design work will take place at Bombardier’s Derby site, with fitment at its Ilford depot by December 2019.
Announcing the contract on January 22, Porterbrook said this would be the first time that ETCS had been installed on an existing fleet of UK electric passenger trains. The project would ensure type approval for ETCS to be fitted to all Electrostar fleets.
‘I am delighted that Porterbrook and Bombardier can lead the way in the fitment of digital signalling to Heathrow Express Electrostar trains that connect London to the UK’s gateway to the world’, said Porterbrook CEO Mary Grant. ‘This first-in-fleet fitment will enable us to accelerate ETCS fitment on other Electrostar fleets, as and when our customers require it.’