£6 million rail revamp milestone

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A LANDMARK phase in the programme to revamp trains running between Sheffield and London will be marked today.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond is to launch East Midlands Trains’ first refurbished seven-carriage Meridian train in a ceremony at St Pancras Station.

The company is spending £6 million upgrading the 27-strong fleet, with new seat covers and carpets, including leather seats in first class, plus more luggage space.

An environmentally-friendly system has also been installed to control each train’s engines, so they are not burning unnecessary fuel when idling in stations.

Around half a dozen of the smaller four and five-car Meridian train sets, used for slower services on the line, have already been revamped.

East Midlands Trains’ managing director, Tim Shoveller, said: “While the Meridians are the newest trains within our fleet, we still want to make sure they are given their fair share of care and attention as part of our refurbishment programme.

“We’re sure that our passengers will be delighted with the extra touches, including the additional luggage space and the new luxury leather seats which will help to give an extra-special feel to our first class coaches.”

Work on the Meridian trains will continue throughout 2011 and is set to be completed by early 2012, with 143 carriages being upgraded.

The train firm is spending a total of £30 million refurbishing its entire fleet of trains.

It includes a £9 million revamp of the older High Speed Train sets, used on some Sheffield to London services, which has already been completed.

East Midlands Trains has also spent £10 million on its smaller trains used for the Liverpool-Norwich route, a main service between Sheffield and Manchester. It is due to receive extra carriages later in the year to relieve overcrowding on the line.