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Passengers are set to benefit from ‘new look’ trains from key destinations such as Norwich, Nottingham, Sheffield and Liverpool as East Midlands Trains comes to the end of a £10 million investment programme to completely refurbish all 25 of its Class 158 trains. The refurbishment programme, which has been carried out by DeltaRail in Derby and has taken just 20 months to complete, will bring some significant improvements for passengers using East Midlands Trains’ popular route between Liverpool and Norwich. This busy route covers some 250 miles and serves cities with a combined population of more than seven million people, with the Class 158 trains carrying over five million passengers a year.
Internally, the new look trains feature an improved seating layout with over ten per cent more seats now available, and a brand new toilet area. Passengers will also benefit from the new air conditioning and CCTV on every train ensuring an increased level of comfort and safety. As part of the refurbishment programme, all trains have been re-painted in the East Midlands Trains livery and there have also been modifications to various systems to deliver improved reliability.
Commenting from East Midlands Trains, David Horne, Commercial & Customer Service Director, said: “We’ve received some great feedback from passengers who have already travelled on one of the newly refurbished trains, and passenger satisfaction on our Liverpool-Norwich route has risen from 72% to 83% as more trains have gone through the programme, demonstrating that passengers appreciate the investment being made.
“Since the start of our franchise in November 2007, we have been determined to make improvements to this important and busy route. The first significant step has been this multi-million pound refurbishment programme, and next year passengers will benefit from additional carriages which will provide 1,500 extra seats between Nottingham and Liverpool every day.”
Helping East Midlands Trains to celebrate this significant milestone were representatives from passenger groups who have played a crucial role in supporting service improvements on the route.
John Saunders, Chair of the Peterborough-Ely-Norwich Rail User Group, said: “This refurbishment has given passengers a brighter decor, cleaner toilets and above all more seats, which were particularly needed on the Liverpool to Norwich route.”
David Thornhill, Chair of Nottinghamshire Campaign for Better Transport, added: “We know the rail industry won’t be immune from the spending cuts announced recently. However, what we’ve seen with this refurbishment is what marvellous results can be achieved with relatively little money being spent. East Midlands Trains is really showing the way forward for the rail industry.”
In total, East Midlands Trains is investing almost £30 million to improve its fleet. The company’s 11 High Speed Trains are currently in the process of being refurbished and over the coming months, the Meridian trains and the Class 153/156 fleet will also be refreshed.