“The intention was for it to be a light refresh, but the scale of the work we have undertaken is more than you might expect. The sets look very different, contemporary and modern. We learned some lessons from the first set back in traffic , which we didn’t quite get right, but overall it’s looking pretty good.
“In terms of design, this is something tailored to the route. For instance, on the Great Western route there is a high proportion of customers on short-distance routes such as Oxford to London. The type of customer environment you need for that will be very different to the environment you need from London to Inverness, where you perhaps pay more attention to toilets, so our refresh is tailored to a longer-distance route and with what our customers would like.
“There’s new seating in First and Standard Class, lots of new finishes, and we’ve brightened up the toilet areas with new pictures. We’ve also done some modifications to the universal access toilet doors, after much publicised occasions when the door opened because people didn’t know how to lock them. There’s new carpet throughout, which is a significant amount of work considering the amount of money we’re spending (£4.5m).
“We want to have all the HSTs done by the autumn, and the Class 91 plan finishes in early 2017. We have to be careful after May, with withdrawing units from traffic during the new timetable and delivering our refresh at the same time.”