The ‘Voyager’ and ‘SuperVoyager’ train fleets celebrated 20 years of service at a special ceremony at their home depot – Alstom’s Central Rivers facility in Staffordshire.
Alstom marked the occasion with rolling stock owner Beacon Rail and train operators Avanti West Coast and CrossCountry.
Originally manufactured by Bombardier, which was acquired by Alstom in January, the Class 220 and Class 221 trains can run up to 200km per hour. In all, they have clocked about 380 million miles of service, but have many more years ahead of them, according to Alstom. Sustainability enhancements include hybrid diesel/battery operation and an intelligent engine stop/start mechanism which will extend their life and complement a greener future for rail.
Peter Broadley, managing director of services for Alstom UK & Ireland, said: “Twenty years of reliable, 200 km/hour operation across Britain is a very significant milestone.
“We are delighted to celebrate Voyager 20 with our friends from Beacon Rail, CrossCountry and Avanti West Coast and look forward to future innovations to achieve even greater sustainability.”
Rob Dee, chief commercial officer at Beacon Rail, said “The Voyager fleet is an integral part of Beacon’s portfolio, consisting of close to 2,000 items of rolling stock operating in 17 countries across Europe.
“Since taking ownership of the Voyagers in 2017, Beacon has worked closely with our customers Avanti West Coast and CrossCountry as well as Alstom to ensure the Voyagers offer a high level of safety, reliability, availability and comfort to the travelling public.
“Beacon has also commissioned industry colleagues to develop a hybrid battery solution for the fleet. The hybrid will significantly reduce emissions in built-up areas whilst maintaining Voyager’s high-speed, go-anywhere capability.”
Tom Joyner, managing director at CrossCountry said: “The Voyager fleet has provided a sterling service for countless passengers over the past twenty years.
“There are some innovative projects in the pipeline, which will ensure the Voyagers continue to form a key part of our fleet and we are looking forward to working with colleagues from Alstom and Beacon Rail on these in the months ahead.”
Gus Dunster, executive director of operations and safety at Avanti West Coast said: “The Super Voyager has played a key role in the transformation of the West Coast Main Line – being integral to a high frequency timetable and helping to put Shrewsbury and Blackpool back on the map.
“The recent £8.3 million investment in the fleet has given the trains a new lease of life and they will continue to serve our customers with great distinction.”