The largest owner of passenger trains in the UK, Porterbrook, has signed a contract for the Heathrow Express rail link with Bombardier Transportation. The deal will see the Derby-headquartered firm fit digital signalling equipment and complete specialist on-board conversions to Class 387 trains.
“I am delighted that Porterbrook and Bombardier can lead the way in the fitment of digital signalling to Heathrow Express Electrostar trains that connect London to the UK’s gateway to the world. This first-in-fleet fitment will enable us to accelerate ETCS fitment on other Electrostar fleets, as and when our customers require it,” said Mary Grant, chief executive of Porterbrook.
The 12 trains will form a dedicated Heathrow Express fleet as part of a management contract announced in March 2018, which sees Great Western Railway deliver some of the operational aspects of the airport service. Engineering and design work will take place at Bombardier’s Derby Litchurch Lane works, with fitment taking place at the company’s Ilford depot. The work will be completed by December 2019.
“As a global signalling solutions provider, we are delighted to be working with Porterbrook, Heathrow Express and Great Western Railway on this project, an exciting next step in the delivery of the Digital Railway,” commented Richard Hunter, president rail control solutions at Bombardier Transportation.
Les Freer, director of Heathrow Express, also added “The introduction of a fleet of Class 387 trains specially converted for airport passengers is one of the main benefits of our new partnership with Great Western Railway. This helps us build on our 20 year history of excellent customer service as we continue to offer the same fast and frequent non-stop service between Heathrow Airport and London Paddington for years to come.”