Angel Trains has, in a joint £7 million project with Bombardier and Abellio Greater Anglia , unveiled its re-engineered class 317 with a view to train operators leasing the 9 currently off-lease trains, as opposed to ordering new rolling stock.
The pre-series class 317 has had a number of major engineering modifications made to it, including the replacement of its DC motors by AC motors , the installation of regenerative braking, fitting of climate controlled air conditioning, and better access to door mechanism enabling door faults to be rectified relatively quickly. CEO of Angel Trains Malcolm Brown described it as "to develop a new train from old" .
DC motors, with their dislike of rain and snow, had long been a cause of frustration with depot and operational staff alike. The new motors not only offer better acceleration, reducing the time to reach 100mph from 223 seconds to 177 seconds , but a smoother start away from stations.
It is envisaged the the 4-car class 317, which will retain 2 unrefurbished carriages so that passengers can be monitored as to which part of the train they gravitate to, will enter passenger service in February and be with Greater Anglia for a period of 6 months.
A number of other train operators, including Northern, are known to be interested in the off-lease class 317s and this will give them the opportunity to experience what it is possible to achieve at the fraction of the cost of new rolling stock.
New metro style interior in 317722.
Old style layout in demonstrator 317722.
Demonstrator 317722 at Ilford depot.