A FLEET of 30 Siemens Class 707 EMUs will not be retained by the new operator for the South Western franchise, First/MTR.
The fleet cost £210million and has not even entered service with South West Trains.
First/MTR is planning a fleet of 90 new trains (750 carriages) for the Reading and Windsor routes plus other suburban lines, which will eventually replace the Class 455 fleet, dating from 1982.
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These venerable units are currently being given an AC traction motor upgrade to improve efficiency and reliability, but First/MTR is believed to want a different interior design, and new build is a more cost effective option.
In addition, the 20-year-old Class 458 EMUs are also to be
de-leased during the next franchise period.
Five years ago a complex process costing £42m was started to lengthen these trains to five-car sets using redundant Class 460 Gatwick Express’ as well as creating six additional five-car units. Whether these will be cascaded, stored or scrapped is unclear, but does underline a haphazard rolling stock policy that Privatisation has brought, along with the potential for large amounts of wasted money.
First/MTR has opted for a full refurbishment of 18 Class 442 EMUs to work the Waterloo to Portsmouth line, together with a plan for new trains, the builder of which is still unknown.
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