Alstom was awarded a contract worth €28 million to undertake re-painting work on the Pendolino fleet, owned by Angel Trains, which comprises 56 Class 390 ‘tilting’ trains currently used by Virgin Trains on the West Coast Main Line.
This project will be the very first to be completed at Alstom’s new technology centre in Widnes, which is currently under development following the receipt of planning permission in May. Parts of the new technology centre will be built specifically to accommodate the re-painting of the Pendolino fleet. The centre will open by May 2017 in time for the work on the Pendolino fleet which will be completed by December 2019. Each train takes two weeks to re-paint.
“Re-painting the iconic Pendolino fleet is a significant win for us. Not only does it cement our longstanding relationship with Virgin Trains, but it will also be the very first piece of work that will take place at our new site in Widnes once it is complete. We are excited to be expanding our presence in the region through our site at Widnes, which we hope will become a modern, efficient rail hub for the whole of our UK operations,” said Rob Whyte, Managing Director - Regional & Intercity at Alstom UK & Ireland.
Around 80 people will be employed at Widnes for the duration of the project and will be trained at Alstom’s North West Transport Training Academy, which will be built at the site. It will open in autumn 2017 to provide training in engineering, manufacturing, project management and other vital transport sector skills.
Re-painting is a vital part of maintenance work on the Pendolino fleet as it reaches the half way point of its lifecycle. It involves completely stripping the trains of exterior paintworks and other exterior fixtures and fittings to inspect for minor damage, before undertaking necessary repair work and applying new layers of paint one at a time. This work prevents further exterior wear and tear as well as rusting and corrosion.
The Pendolino trains were built in the UK by Alstom for the West Coast Main Line route. Alstom maintains the entire fleet at its specialist Traincare Centres in Wembley, Wolverhampton, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow under a train service agreement that is funded by the Department for Transport under the terms and conditions of its franchise agreement with Virgin Trains.