Porterbrook signs contract with Vossloh Kiepe

Posted: 16 April 2013 | | No comments yet

Porterbrook Leasing Company Limited has signed a contract worth £40m with Vossloh Kiepe UK Limited…

Porterbrook Leasing Company Limited has signed a contract worth £40m with Vossloh Kiepe UK Limited to fit state of the art ‘IGBT’ traction equipment to its 91 class 455 units operating with South West Trains. Although prototype retractioning work is currently being undertaken on other EMU classes, Porterbrook believes that the business case for the 455s is sound so awarded a contract to carry out the work on the entire fleet. The trains are currently undergoing a C6 overhaul which includes the work necessary for PRM TSI compliance.

The class 455s were manufactured in the mid 1980s and underwent a £67m refurbishment and upgrade through 2004 to 2008 including the removal of any corrosion that was found whilst the equipment was stripped down. The effect of this work was that the passengers felt that they were travelling on almost new, if not new trains, and since then the fleet has continually improved in reliability such that it is now the most reliable pre privatisation EMU fleet.

As a result of discussions between South West Trains and Porterbrook, and after a full evaluation of the project, the decision was taken to completely replace the original traction equipment because of identifiable benefits and a belief that these trains will continue to provide a quality service for some years to come. They will also deliver an economical solution to increasing passenger demand with a cost for leasing and maintaining this fleet substantially lower than the new train alternative.

In addition to the reduction in maintenance costs of AC traction equipment over DC equipment, these new trains will be able to ‘re-generate’ electricity and feed this back into the system resulting in an expected 20%+ saving in electricity supply costs; with the environmental benefits that this brings. Also, as the distance between servicing events will increase by 50% (10,000 miles to 15,000 miles) the trains will spend less time ‘on works’ increasing their availability and freeing up space at Wimbledon depot where they are currently based. The space that is freed up at Wimbledon will enable South West Trains to acquire more trains for their passengers without the need and considerable cost of building a new depot.

The first of the retractioned trains is due for completion late 2014 with the final unit programmed for delivery February 2016. The equipment package and design developed by Vossloh Kiepe means that only 2 units will be on works at any one time and installation will take only 6 days to complete once production is in full flow. This limited time out of service is of great importance to South West Trains and was a major consideration when awarding the contract.

This contract, together with the reconfiguration of the class 458s and 460s which is currently being undertaken and the forthcoming introduction and refurbishment of the class 456 fleet, delivers an investment by Porterbrook of almost £100m in South West Trains rolling stock.

Porterbrook is currently looking at the possibility of undertaking similar retractioning work on its 86 class 319 units and is evaluating the opportunities that this may bring.

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