What next for the unwanted Class 707 ‘Desiro City’ EMUs?

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.

One of the driving vehicles for set No. 707021 being built at Siemens Krefeld on March 29. KEITH FENDER

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.

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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.

Read more in the May issue of The RM – on sale now!


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