A NEW £8.8million contract has been signed for c2c's 357 fleet to be rejuvenated with the "distinctive look and feel" of the new trains being rolled out.

Train manufacturer Alstom has signed the contract with c2c for the paint and repair of its Class 357 Electrostar fleet. 

This comes after c2c confirmed to the Echo the new 720 fleet of trains were introduced to increase capacity and there are no plans to phase out the 357 trains.

Eight of the new 720 units are running in the morning peak and six in the evening peak. Ten will be running in June with the hopes all 12 will be rolled-out by the end of the year.

These 357 fleet was initially built between 1999 and 2002 and are currently leased from Angel Trains and Porterbrook.

Rob Mullen, c2c managing director, said: “Each year c2c continues to achieve some of the best punctuality and reliability figures of any train operator in the country, and it is no coincidence that our fleet of 357 trains are behind these excellent results.

“As well as maintaining and servicing our trains so they are ready to serve the tens of thousands of customers they carry each day, our dedicated engineering and presentation teams work around the clock to make sure they are always clean and in great condition both inside and out.

“The forthcoming paint and refurbishment work – carried out by our partners at Alstom – will see all of our 74 Class 357 trains refreshed with the distinctive look and feel of our new Class 720 trains.

“We are excited at the prospect of this work starting and can’t wait to get the refreshed trains back out on our route.”

The scope of work on the electric trains includes the repair of huck bolt covers, body end corrosion, side vent corrosion, sole bar corrosion, roof corrosion and the repaint of all the units.

This work will be undertaken at Alstom’s Ilford depot over a 24-month period and will support up to 25 additional roles at the site.

Peter Broadley, service managing director UK and Ireland at Alstom, said: “We're thrilled to embark on this new journey with c2c, rejuvenating the Class 357 fleet and enhancing the travel experience for fare-paying passengers.

“This contract underscores Alstom’s commitment to sustainable mobility and British craftsmanship, exemplified by our dedicated team at the Ilford depot.

“Through this contract, we not only renew the vitality of the Class 357 fleet but also fortify local economies by fostering job creation at our Ilford depot and engaging the wider UK supply chain, including SMEs.”