TRAIN company GNER has announced it is to continue work to transform its fleet with a refit of its high-speed diesel trains.

The £8.7m project will be carried out over the next ten months and will include engineering work to improve the performance of the trains.

Ten diesel trains are to be fitted with a new buffet car and kitchen, and coaches will be re-carpeted and seats refurbished.

For the first time, GNER's high-speed diesels will have a toilet large enough to accommodate a wheelchair.

Each train will also be extended by a coach, which will have two spaces for passengers travelling in wheelchairs.

Extra cycle racks in guards vans will enable up to six bikes to be carried and there will be a dedicated luggage area in one guards van on each train.

The diesels' refit coincides with a rolling £30m programme to transform the interior of more than 300 electric GNER coaches.

GNER chief operating officer Jonathan Metcalfe said: "By the end of this year, we will have refitted all of our trains and carried out modifications to all electric and diesel locomotives to improve performance and cut delays.

"Our aim is to provide passengers with a more comfortable and punctual service."

GNER, which serves destinations between London, the North-East and Scotland, announced a £100m package of improvements to its trains after winning a two-year extension to its East Coast Main Line franchise, until 2005.