Heathrow Express fleet to be fitted with ETCS

Class 387 EMU pulling into station

23rd January 2019

Porterbrook have signed a contract with Bombardier Transportation that will see digital signalling equipment added to the fleet of Class 387 trains that are destined for Heathrow Express. The work will also see the trains receive interior modificiations including improved seating, additional luggage space, at seat power, on-board TV and fast WiFi.

This represents an £11m investment in 12 trains that will form a dedicated Heathrow Express fleet and will see the proven ETCS (European Train Control System) signalling technology added. Fitment of this technology will also result in ‘type approval’ from the Office of Rail and Road, enabling ETCS to be fitted to all Electrostar fleets.

Engineering and design for the project will take place at Bombardier’s Derby Litchurch Lane works with fitment taking place at the company’s Ilford depot. Work is due to be completed by December 2019, meeting a commitment from the Secretary of State to replace existing rolling stock on the route.

Mary Grant, CEO of Porterbrook said:

"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." Richard Hunter, President Rail Control Solutions at Bombardier Transportation, said: "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."

Les Freer, Director of Heathrow Express said:

“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.”

Author: Darren Porter
Image: Porterbrook/GWR