The £50m project is being undertaken by Siemens Mobility and is designed to provide more seats in standard class and additional features including enhanced Wi-Fi, at-seat power sockets, infotainment, real-time information, and inductive charging tables and leather seats in first class, as well as refurbishing the passenger accommodation.

“Our customers have been enjoying the benefits of refurbished accommodation on our class 450 trains since December, and this train marks the start of phase two of the programme,” says Mr Neil Drury, SWR’s engineering director. “When the refurbishment programme is completed, all 172 of our Desiro class trains will have new, high-quality interiors, and will be providing almost 5000 much-needed additional seats in standard class.”

The refurbishment of the Desiro fleet is part of a £110m programme to refurbish five types of train by the end of 2020 involving more than 900 coaches. The class 444 and 127 four-car class 450 sets are owned by rolling stock leasing company Angel Trains.

Currently, the first of 18 class 442 EMUs, which date from 1988, is being refurbished before entering service in December on the London Waterloo - Portsmouth route. SWR has also ordered 750 Aventra EMU cars from Bombardier.

First-class interior of a refurbished class 444 EMU.
Standard class showing the area for disabled passengers.