Porterbrook signs agreement for future of Class 458s

Porterbrook Leasing has signed a contract with Stagecoach South West (SSW) to reconfigure the Class 458 fleet into 5-car units and to create 6 additional units by incorporating equipment from the Class 460 fleet which was previously used on the Gatwick Express services.

The new fleet of 36 5-car units will be known as Class 458/5.

This new fleet of trains will form part of the rolling stock element of SSW HLOS solution and will deliver 10-car services on certain routes.

The modification work has been contracted to Alstom who in turn will use Wabtec Rail to undertake the physical work.

The new vehicles will be brought into service in the spring of 2013, with the final train scheduled for delivery in spring 2014.

Up to 92% of the material content of the project will be sourced from the UK supply chain.

Doncaster based-Wabtec will carry out various carbody structure work to convert the fleets, under Alstom design and management.

Alstom is recruiting around twelve engineers in order to provide a team of twenty five dedicated to supporting the conversion project.

The deal enables Alstom to develop its skilled team dedicated to train modernisation, based predominantly in the Midlands with support from the company’s parts and supply chain management site in Preston.

The total cost of the project will be almost £42m.

Only 4 of the original Class 460 vehicles will remain unused however spares recovered from these vehicles will be used to support the new fleet.

Commenting on the contract, Paul Francis, Managing Director said:

“The deal on Class 458/5 clearly demonstrates the important role of rolling stock lessors in providing flexible commercial and engineering solutions to rolling stock provision alongside the purchase of new trains.

“In this case Porterbrook is investing £42m to deliver an important HLOS commitment for our customer SSW.

“This increased rolling stock capacity will be delivered with only three years remaining of the franchise but Porterbrook can underwrite this long term investment.”

UK engineering expertise and supply chain to boost capacity for London commuters on South West Trains route

Terence Watson, Managing Director of Alstom Transport in the UK and Ireland, said:

“We look forward to bringing Alstom’s local expertise to the fore in this key project that shows how industry partners can work well together to provide innovative, value for money proposals to meet rolling stock requirements.”


    • Making 2X2car units from the 4 leftover driving units would be good value for money. One for the Lymington branch and the other as a route learner/driver training/spare unit. If more capacity is required on the Lymington branch a trailer from a redundant set could be refreshed to fit.  Someone would get a Cl 158 and SW Trains would get commonality of equipment for driving and maintenance.

      • Only two of the four spare vehicles are driving vehicles. I can’t say that I remember which of these four might be motor units or not. I think all vehicles in this class might have one powered axle.

        Still – for the other two non driving vehicles – why not stick cabs on them, and use them. That would require a bit of money, but that’s better than the money sunk by having these expensive vehicles just hanging around doing nothing.


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