Bombardier to fit ETCS kit on Heathrow Express ‘387s’

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PORTERBROOK has signed a contract with Bombardier Transportation to fit ETCS digital signalling equipment to Great Western Railway Class 387 EMUs, which are being converted for Heathrow Express services.

The investment by Porterbrook is valued at £11million.

GWR is having 12 Class 387s converted for the airport express work, with No. 387140 having already been moved to Ilford depot for internal re-fitting.


As well as the ETCS work, Porterbrook’s investment includes the on-board conversion work covering improved seating, additional luggage space, at-seat power, on-board TV and fast wi-fi.

No. 57305 drags GWR ‘Electrostar’ No. 387140 through Caledonian Road & Barnsbury, working the 5Q50 Reading-Ilford Depot on January 6, to receive ETCS equipment, a new interior and branding for Heathrow Express services. HOWARD LEWSEY

Engineering and design work for ETCS will take place at Bombardier’s Derby Litchurch Lane factory, with installation taking place at Ilford.

The work will be completed by December, and as part of a deal with the Department for Transport, the track access agreement for Heathrow Express will last until at least 2028.


The fitting of ETCS will result in type approval, meaning it can be fitted to other Class 387 variants as Network Rail’s digital signalling programme is rolled out.

Read more News and Features in the February 2019 issue of The RM –on sale now!


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Nigel Devereux

Let off some steam...