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First refurbished Networker back in traffic with FCC

The first refurbished Class 365 Networker entered traffic with First Capital Connect on January 16.

Owned by Eversholt Rail, which is spending £30 million on upgrading the 40 four-car electric multiple units, 365517 is the first to be treated by Bombardier at Ilford. It features new interiors, and modifications to ensure it meets the Passengers of Reduced Mobility - Technical Specification for Interoperability (PRMTSI) deadline of January 1 2020.

Eversholt told RAIL that later in 2014 the ‘365’ will be one of six that will be ‘retro-fitted’ with updated interiors, once further materials such as larger disabled access-ready toilets are sourced. The rolling stock leasing company expects that this work will be ready to be implemented from July, on the seventh unit in the programme.

Until the toilet has been fitted, it is not known if the number of seats on the trains will be reduced. Already some bays of four have been replaced by additional airline seats.

All 40 trains will be refurbished by the end of next year. The project includes a C6X overhaul, which focuses on all aspects of the train above the solebar, while a mechanical overhaul of equipment below the solebar (a C4) will also be carried out. As part of this, bogies will be removed and sent to Crewe Works for overhaul.

As part of this project, two Class 365s had visited Wolverton Works last year when that site was owned by Railcare, but only received a C6 overhaul, which is repairing the interior. These units (365510/518) will be treated later this year.

The contract for refurbishment had been with Railcare, but was cancelled when that firm entered administration (RAIL 729). Although Railcare was then bought by Knorr-Bremse,

Eversholt Operations Manager Paul Sutherland explained that the need for immediate work on the trains meant that the rolling stock company had to place the contract elsewhere.

A tendering process saw Bombardier win the work, and 365517 moved to Ilford on November 5. The project has been delayed three months, although it was always intended that the first refurbished unit would enter traffic just before Christmas.

When the project is fully scoped, each EMU will take 20 days to complete. From July two will be treated at the same time.

Despite this, FCC Engineering Director Robin Kay told RAIL that there were no plans to hire additional EMUs to cover for unavailable trains. He denied suggestions that three off-lease Class 317/7s would be acquired.

FCC Managing Director David Statham said: “The upgraded train looks and feels like a new train. We’re giving people more of what they want - better trains.”
The second unit to be treated is 365525. All 40 units will receive the new livery, with 365510/519/531/540 losing their advertising vinyls.

  • This  news article was published in RAIL 741 on 5 February 2014

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