SWR refurbished trains running after safety concerns delay

SWR refurbished trains running after safety concerns delay

Class 442 trains

Image caption

Refurbishment work on the Class 442 trains was carried out at Eastleigh and Bournemouth

Refurbished trains by South Western Railway (SWR) are back in service following a delay over safety concerns.

Class 442 trains were due to be brought back into service last month but were withdrawn due to a safety problem with the door locks.

They have now started carrying passengers on services between Southampton and London – six months later than initially promised.

New motors to improve reliability have yet to be fitted.

These will be added later but a date has not yet been set.

‘Plastic pigs’

“The first unit entered service today following the necessary door modifications,” a spokesman for SWR said.

“We will review the performance of the train in passenger service, with two further units due to enter service shortly, including on the Portsmouth line.”

Each carriage on the trains, nicknamed “plastic pigs” when they were first on the rails in the 1980s, is costing £500,000 to be revamped.

Planned new services between Southampton Airport and Poole and Waterloo have been postponed.

The mothballed trains were refurbished at Eastleigh and Bournemouth in Dorset.

SWR previously suspended up to 10 of its planned 300 new services as a result of the safety problem with the door locks.


By Paul Clifton, BBC South transport correspondent

Better late than never. But let’s be clear – of the 18 trains being refurbished, only two are actually cleared for carrying passengers.

This first service was an easy run from Southampton Airport and not on the Portsmouth to London route for which these trains have been refurbished.

And none of the trains yet have the new motors which are needed to make them reliable. They will have to be fitted at an unspecified future date.

At £500,000 for each carriage, this is a project that has not gone well.

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