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Angel Trains unveils re-engineered Class 317 unit

28 November 2013  •  Author: Angel Trains

Angel Trains today unveiled its re-engineered Class 317 unit at an event held at Bombardier Transportation’s depot in Ilford, London. The pre-series vehicle has been the subject of a £7 million overhaul as part of a joint project between Angel Trains, Bombardier Transportation and Abellio Greater Anglia. The finished unit will provide the train operator with new train look, feel and performance at a fraction of the cost of building a unit from scratch.

The project included a complete interior redesign to increase capacity and ensure PRM (Persons of Reduced Mobility) compliance, significant engineering work on the doors to increase the ease of maintenance. A major retractioning project was also undertaken to move the train from a DC to an AC power unit which now enables the train to make use of regenerative braking and benefit from faster acceleration, both of which will significantly reduce power consumption and operational costs.

Malcolm Brown, CEO, Angel Trains, commented, “We’re very proud of the work which our team has carried out alongside our partners. As operators look to reduce operational costs, increase the capacity on their franchise and offer passengers a more comfortable experience the Class 317 re-engineering project will satisfy these demands. These units will provide a complementary option to the building of brand new trains.

“It’s also worth highlighting the importance of having high quality, lower cost options such as the re-engineered Class 317 for use on sections of the national rail network which are due to be newly electrified. The modernisation work which has taken place on these trains makes commercial sense but it also supports jobs and skills in the UK rail supply chain,” continued Brown.

Rail Minister, Stephen Hammond said: “We are currently embarked on one of the biggest programmes of rail modernisation ever, with more than £38bn being invested to electrify hundreds of miles of track, open new stations and improve the connectivity of hundreds of towns and cities across the network.

“These carriages represent a massive step change for passengers, allowing them to travel in modernised carriages that are faster, more environmentally friendly, and provide greater comfort.”

The retractioning work and inclusion of regenerative braking means that the re-engineered vehicle will be able to attain ‘new train’ performance with lower operational costs compared to the original Class 317 units, all without having to build a new train. The retractioned unit will benefit in five key ways:

  1. Better Performance – improved acceleration providing faster journey times
  2. Reduced maintenance – AC traction motors mean that no more brush changes are required and the time between maintenance overhauls can be significantly increased
  3. Greater Reliability – replacement traction system will provide performance more akin to a new train
  4. Reduced environmental impact – under optimal conditions Class 317 will use up to 40% less power
  5. Lower Cost – significant reductions in maintenance and operating costs

The engineering overhaul was carried out by Bombardier Transportation with a large proportion of the work carried out at the company’s Ilford depot.

Francis Paonessa, President, Rolling Stock and Services, Bombardier UK, said, “The Class 317 project encompasses a complex engineering challenge, integrating modern traction equipment into an existing unit to deliver improved train performance. We have also delivered a fresh, modern interior that demonstrates the potential of an older fleet to continue to meet the evolving needs of the customer. This project has clearly demonstrated how well we work as a team with our customer, jointly finding ways to address a genuine industry need and delivering on a challenging commitment.”

Travelling passengers on re-engineered Class 317 trains will have the opportunity to benefit from a number of new features, including:

  • Refurbished interior, new seating and additional grab poles
  • Increased capacity on each vehicle including larger vestibule areas
  • PRM compliant
  • CCTV cameras throughout the train to improve safety
  • Climate controlled environment
  • Plug sockets and Wi-Fi throughout the vehicle
  • Passenger information systems to provide journey details

The pre-series unit unveiled at Ilford is currently going through its final testing after which it will enter passenger service with Abellio Greater Anglia in Q1 2014.

Kate Marjoribanks, Engineering Director, Abellio Greater Anglia, said, “We’re excited to begin testing the unit with our customers and gathering in-service feedback. The new layout inside the carriages should provide a much more comfortable journey. From our point of view, improvements on the interior of the unit including better security, hygiene and demand management are all important, but equally important are some of the engineering changes. The new power units will reduce our operational costs and the revised carriage layout should make train cleaning and maintenance easier.”

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