First Great Western says Plymouth’s Laira depot will service the Hitachi AT300 bi-mode trains from their introduction, should the Secretary of State for Transport approve the order at the end of June.
Confirmation came as FGW managers and directors undertook a comprehensive tour of the franchise for staff and stakeholders to explain changes in the Direct Award franchise, which starts on September 15.
Laira and Long Rock (Penzance) depots will service the AT300s, with maintenance carried out at North Pole alongside the similar Class 800s.
The announcement follows concerns about potential job cuts at Laira as a result of the introduction of the new trains (RAIL 773). While a servicing role means the depot will retain work on long-distance trains, it still stands to lose much of the major engineering it has been undertaking on the High Speed Train fleet.
As well as new trains, the most visual aspect of the new franchise will be the abandonment of the First Great Western name in favour of a revival of the Great Western Railway, a name last used commercially on December 31 1947 (see Analysis, pages 32-33).
All the Class 800s, AT300s, Class 57s and ‘Night Riviera’ rolling stock will be painted green with (when the new franchise starts) cast GWR letters on the vehicles. The first ‘Night Riviera’ coaches in unbranded green began operation at the start of May.
- For more on this story, see RAIL 774 published on May 13 2015