Wednesday 4 Jan 2017
New electric trains provide extra 6,550 seats a day
Passengers travelling from Hayes & Harlington are enjoying a new improved service to mark the start of the new year, with an extra 6,550 seats available following Network Rail’s biggest ever festive upgrade.
Following huge investment by Network Rail, commuters at Hayes & Harlington are now benefitting from new platforms which allow electric trains, called Electrostars, to run to London Paddington every half an hour.
The new eight carriage Electrostar trains, being run by GWR, have 262 more seats per service than the two carriage trains they are replacing, providing 6,550 more seats a day in each direction.
The move is part of the biggest fleet upgrade in a generation on the Great Western network, helping to improve journey times, increase capacity and provide greater comfort for passengers. Passengers will also benefit from at-seat power sockets, air conditioning, extra luggage space and free WiFi.
The first four of 45 Class 387, or GWR Electrostar, four-carriage trains were introduced in September and provided an additional 1,400 seats between Hayes & Harlington and London Paddington at the busiest times every day for commuters. That figure has, from 3 January, grown by an extra 6,550 seats in each direction.
Maidenhead will be the next area to benefit from the new electric trains with the 387s expected to start running between their and London Paddington from May. The new fleet of trains is part of GWR’s plan to introduce faster more frequent services for commuters in what will be the biggest train fleet upgrade in a generation on the Great Western network.
Mark Langman, Network Rail’s route managing director, said: “It is fantastic to see the new service benefitting so many passengers already. The new electric trains are fantastic and to have thousands of extra seats, more frequent trains and a more reliable service is just the start of an exciting time for the railway in our region. These trains will be rolled out further west as our Railway Upgrade Plan continues and more and more passengers will enjoy the result of all the hard work and investment we have put in.”
GWR managing director Mark Hopwood said: “The Thames Valley is one of the most popular rail corridors in the UK. We have promised the current fleet would be upgraded to provide much needed additional capacity and more comfortable, quieter journeys.
“We started to run our first new electric trains in September and with this Christmas work completed, on time, I am delighted to say that we can now deliver even more of those improvements – with our half hourly services between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington.”
Once the new electric trains replace the existing diesel turbo trains will be cascaded to other parts of the GWR network, providing additional capacity where it is needed most.
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.