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First Great Western invests in new look trains as part of a £1bn investment
Wednesday 17 January 2007
Biggest investment since Brunel built "God's Wonderful Railway" in mid 1800s New look train interiors were unveiled today (17 January, 2007) as part of a £1 billion investment in the Greater Western franchise area. The new design will provide an additional three million seats on First Great Western High Speed Trains (HSTs). The £63 million redesign project is the biggest in recent years and forms part of a £1 billion investment in the region by First Great Western and Network Rail to completely renew the franchise. The new look trains, which were unveiled by Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Tom Harris and Chief Executive of First, Moir Lockhead at London Paddington today, will be rolled out across First Great Western’s fleet of 53 HSTs over the next 12 months. The redesign covers everything inside the trains from seats, lighting and toilets to at seat power throughout the train, catering and décor and is the result of more than two years of design work by ex Porsche and Eurostar designer, Michael Rodber and Mike Muldoon, who designed many of the groundbreaking new trains around the world. A key feature of the redesign project is the new seating in Standard Class, which has been carefully created by ergonomists to offer maximum comfort and support to passengers while also making the most efficient use of space within the carriages. The new seats have a pitch of 32 inches, comparing favourably with top airlines such as British Airways World Traveller seats (31 inches) and Virgin Atlantic Economy seats (32 inches). Other features of the new look interiors include: · Leather seats in First Class – a first for any UK train operator; · Vibrant new colour schemes – taupe and blue in First Class and lilac and blue in Standard Class; · 240V power points at table level in all First Class seats; · 240V power points between seats, which are mainly airline style, in Standard Class; · Redesigned drop tables in Standard Class that are large enough to accommodate a laptop and a cup of coffee; · Glass screens to replace old partitions of luggage racks so passengers can see their luggage easily from their seats; · New toilets, including a drain-away floor, which has been designed for easy cleaning; · Express Café to replace buffet area; · Textured, ridged carpets in the vestibules, which are anti-slip and easy to clean; · Dividers in the overhead luggage racks, which stop luggage moving along the racks; · Hooks for jackets in both First Class and Standard Class; · Both wheelchair spaces are in Coach E where the disabled toilet is; · Braille signs on toilet doors and facilities inside the toilets. Power cars are also having new engines, which will make them 15 per cent more fuel-efficient and produce less emissions. For example: · 64 per cent less CO2; · 21 per cent less NOX; · Hydrocarbon emissions down 46 per cent; · Smoke emissions down 42 per cent. Moir Lockhead, Chief Executive of First, said: “I’m delighted that First is today unveiling these fantastic new look trains in a £1 billion investment programme with Network Rail to massively upgrade First Great Western. This is the biggest investment in Great Western since Brunel built “God’s Wonderful Railway” in the mid 1800s and comes in time to complete the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of his birth in 2006. “First and Network Rail’s investment programme will improve the quality of our trains and stations and the performance on the railway. There are great benefits for passengers – these trains will provide an extra three million seats a year – and for the environment – the engines are 15 per cent more fuel efficient than before and produce dramatically fewer emissions, for example 64 per cent less CO2. “Today’s announcement is a central element of First’s current £350 million programme of investment in our trains and buses, which will help us lead the industry in delivering safe, reliable, innovative and sustainable transport services.” Alison Forster, Managing Director of First Great Western, said: “Our market research told us that our customers wanted a product and service that is fresh, modern and innovative and we have created a design for the HST fleet which answers all those criteria. The new look, combined with the improved reliability and journey quality offered by the overhaul and improvement to the fleet, will help us transform our customers’ journey experience.” Tom Harris, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, said: “This investment will mean that every long distance train serving the West and South West will be upgraded. This is good news for passengers, who will benefit from more seats and improved reliability. The trains are also more fuel-efficient and will produce significantly fewer emissions. “And more improvements will follow. Our contract commits First Great Western to upgrading their entire fleet of trains on local routes in the West and South West too.” According to the latest statistics from the Department for Transport, the average number of car journeys made per person in 2005 was 671*. By making an additional three million seats available on its HST services, First Great Western is working towards combating road congestion and making rail travel a real alternative to the car.