Kent’s Javelin high speed trains get multi-million pound upgrade

Trains on the UK’s only high-speed passenger service are to get a £27 million upgrade.

Thanks to the combined efforts of train operator Southeastern, as well as Hitachi Rail and Eversholt Rail, the fleet of 29 Class 395 Javelin high speed trains – capable of travelling at 140mph and the fastest trains in Britain – are to get a full interior refresh.

Every one of the 29 trains in the fleet which links Kent to London St Pancras will get new carpets and seats, with proposed changed seating layouts to assist people with reduced mobility.

There are also plans to upgrade the live passenger information system (PIS) onboard, including the installation of media screens from 2024. The CCTV system will be improved; LED lighting installed; and to help improve the passenger experience USB at-seat charging points will be made available.

The UK’s only high speed passenger fleet has already delivered record levels of reliability, passenger satisfaction and a £1 billion boost to the Kent tourism economy.

The initial phase will include design, engineering and procurement, with the upgrade to the first trains starting in March 2023, at Southeastern’s Ashford Depot.

Mark Johnson, Engineering Director at Southeastern, said: “The upgrades are a clear demonstration of how we have been listening to our passengers and aim to give them what they need to improve their time travelling with us.”

Commenting on the investment, Susie Warran-Smith, Chair of Locate in Kent, added: “Kent is one of the best-connected counties with the high-speed link connecting Kent to St Pancras in as little as 17 minutes. This connectivity plays an important part in the county’s inward investment story.

“This investment in services will further improve the experience of those living, visiting or commuting to and from Kent. This, combined with the fact that the work will also be undertaken in Ashford, is great news for Kent.”

The latest digital solutions are at the heart of the work to help with passenger management and infrastructure monitoring. Eversholt Rail will be installing the new CCTV, which combined with Hitachi Rail’s digital solutions, provides live passenger data on numbers and load weighting. This technology utilises AI and supports a trackside maintenance regime which will deliver value for money.

Mark Johnson added: “We’re proud to run the UK’s fastest domestic passenger service. We’re looking forward to working with Eversholt Rail and Hitachi Rail to complete this upgrade across the entirety of the 140mph Javelin fleet, the fastest of their type in Britain.

“When finished, it will bring the fleet up to the very latest standards and ensure that quality of comfort, accessibility and information provision are as high as possible for our customers, improving the on-board environment when travelling with us”.

Hitachi Rail has been awarded the upgrade contract in recognition of its team at Ashford and its 12 years of continued teamwork and collaboration on the Javelin Class 395, its flagship UK fleet.

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