The story of the Desiro family in Great Britain is closely linked to the high reliability of these trains, which have already won a number of awards. The Siemens Desiro UK Class 444 has now won the coveted "Golden Spanner 2010" that is awarded by Modern Railways, the international trade journal. During the past twelve months, the vehicle fleet operated by South West Trains has set a new reliability record of almost 89,000 kilometres per technical delay. The trains made and maintained by Siemens are now officially the most reliable in Great Britain.
The Desiro UK Class 360/2, which runs in London as the Heathrow Express, received a “Silver Spanner” as the best new electrical multiple unit. The trains are owned by the British Airports Authority (BAA), operated by First Great Western and maintained by Siemens employees based at Acton. The Siemens Desiro UK Class 350/2 train fleet operated by London Midland achieved second place in this category. In the period from commissioning at the beginning of 2009 until August 2009, fleet reliability improved continually. These trains have now reached a reliability rate of around 71,000 kilometres, and the trend is pointing towards a further increase. They are maintained by Siemens in depots in Northampton and Crewe.
Modern Railways presents the "Golden Spanner Awards" each year as a mark of distinction for the most reliable trains across the UK rail industry. The awards are based on statistical data and are therefore regarded throughout the rail sector as being an accurate measure of fleet reliability. The trains operating throughout the network are assessed by the number of kilometres travelled between each technical fault.
The ranking list is produced by the Association of Train Operating Companies.
Apart from the proven vehicle technology of the Desiro UK trains, the crucial factor affecting their availability and reliability is the range of services available. It enables the reliability to be continually improved by technical enhancements and the effects of faults to be reduced by appropriate instruction of the service personnel.
Siemens has signed a service agreement for every train it has supplied in Great Britain. The maintenance activities are conducted on the "pit stop" principle in a number of depots.
Siemens has designed and built six depots at Acton, Northam, Manchester, York, Northampton and Glasgow Shields specifically for this purpose. In a manner similar to pit stops in motor racing, defective equipment and functional units are replaced completely in the depot inspection pits which extend under the whole length of a train. This shortens the length of time trains spend in the workshop, because the units that are removed can be checked and repaired later.
A total of over 370 Desiro trainsets, numbering almost 1,500 cars, are currently being maintained in the UK. The longstanding service experience Siemens has gained in Great Britain is also applied in its worldwide maintenance projects. Siemens and its exceptionally well-trained personnel have been active in the British market since 1996, ensuring not only high availability but also satisfied passengers on Great Britain's railway network. The National Passenger Survey held in June 2009 showed, for example, that passenger satisfaction with London Midland had increased by eight per cent over the previous year.