PASSENGERS have enthusiastically welcomed the arrival at Lincoln station of the first train to return to the tracks following a major fleet makeover.
East Midlands Trains' 17-strong fleet of Class 153s and 11 Class 156 trains are being refitted at the Neville Hill deport in Leeds.
The £5 million overhaul will be completed by next year.
Passengers and dignitaries yesterday boarded the 11.54 departure to Doncaster – the first refurbished train now back in service.
Improvements include re-upholstered seating and carpets, better interior lighting, better loos and CCTV.
The chairman of Railfuture Lincolnshire, David Harby, said he was particularly pleased to see CCTV installed.
"This refresh is welcome as when EMT took over the franchise they inherited a mix of 153 units from various sources with varying standards of interior accommodation," said Mr Harby, of Carrall Close, Lincoln. "All the improvements will improve the journey experience.
"I am especially pleased to see CCTV is being installed.
"This will be a useful deterrent to the minority of malcontents who by their antisocial behaviour make everyone else's journey unpleasant."
The trains have all been re-painted in the East Midlands Trains livery to give a consistent look and it is said they will also benefit from modernisation work to ensure reliability and efficiency.
Lincolnshire County Councillor Ken Milner joined Tim Sayer, engineering director of East Midlands Trains, for a launch ceremony on platform 4. Mr Sayer said the launch followed fast on the heels of the company's £19 million refurbishment of its High Speed Trains and Class 158s.
"Out trains provide vital links for the local community and we're confident the extensive improvement to our Class 153 and 156 trains will result in a much better travelling environment that will also be welcomed by our passengers," he said.
"What we have done is create a light and airy environment.
"Beforehand these trains were very dour-looking inside and a bit grubby."
Mr Milner said he wanted Lincolnshire to have the best public transport possible.
"This initiative will make train travel an even more attractive option for those making a journey," he said.
"Ideally, this will encourage more people to leave the car behind and get on board a cleaner, leaner mode of transport."
The Class 153 and 156 trains, known as the company's workhorses, operate on local routes including Lincoln to Nottingham and Doncaster.