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Clean trains inside and out as new £40m sidings regenerate railway land

Press Release   •   Jan 26, 2016 12:09 GMT

  • Sidings already keeping Thameslink trains clean with modern wash
  • From spring will stable first trains of brand new next-generation fleet for Thameslink
  • Space for longer, 12 and 8-carriage trains and facilitates, from 2018, more frequent services

Wallets, mobiles phones, umbrellas, false teeth and even a new kitchen sink… Thameslink’s railway cleaners find all kinds of leftovers when trains pull into their sidings for a break. And they are being helped on their way by the government-sponsored Thameslink Programme, with the opening of a new £40m railway facility in Cricklewood, north London.

The new yard, which also features a drive-through train wash, is already cleaning trains on the busy Thameslink route between Bedford, London and Brighton. It will also be used by Thameslink’s new Class 700 trains when they are introduced this spring, and will play a vital part in running the programme’s new intensive train service.

Network Rail’s Thameslink Programme director Simon Blanchflower said: “Everything the Thameslink Programme does is about improving journeys for passengers and this new facility will make a real difference.

“We have turned a disused piece of railway land into a first-class railway facility that will play a crucial part in what will be one of the country’s most intensive main line train services.”

The huge facility, which can accommodate 22 trains at a time, was constructed by contractors Carillion with site operator Thameslink and Network Rail, on the site of disused rail lines not far from the existing depot. They include a new train wash, toilet emptying facilities and walkways for staff to remove rubbish from trains. In fact, when the Thameslink Programme introduces a 24 trains per hour service from Blackfriars to St Pancras International in 2018, it is expected that staff at the Cricklewood sidings will remove one tonne of rubbish from trains every day.

Keith Wallace, Projects Director at Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “These sidings are a crucial part of our plans to modernise Thameslink services to give our passengers new, spacious trains starting this spring and, from 2018, more frequent services at all our stations between Bedford and London.

“The facility is state-of-the-art and a credit to Network Rail and the Thameslink Programme team. Our 26 staff on site are already using them to keep trains clean.”

MP for Hendon Matthew Offord, who opened the sidings on Friday 22 January, said: “I am delighted that the Government’s sponsorship of the Thameslink Programme is contributing to this new facility at Cricklewood. When completed, this investment will provide a much-needed modern and efficient train service for all users of the Thameslink line including my constituents in Edgware, Hendon and Mill Hill.”

The Class 700 trains, being built by Siemens, will run an intensive service to and through London from locations such as Bedford, Peterborough and Cambridge in the north and Brighton and Gatwick in the south, offering new standards of spaciousness, reliability and passenger information.

The location of the sidings in Cricklewood means that trains will be able to visit the sidings around the clock to keep them looking their best.



Cricklewood Sidings

The huge facility features five 600m tracks and six 400m tracks that can accommodate ten 12-car trains in the south end and six 8-car trains and six 12-car trains in the north end.

About the Thameslink Programme

The Government-sponsored Thameslink Programme will transform north-south travel through London. When complete in 2018 it will give passengers:

  • New spacious trains running every 2 to 3 minutes through central London in the peak
  • Improved connections and better options to more destinations on an expanded Thameslink network
  • Robust new track and signalling systems offer more reliable journeys
  • A completely rebuilt London Bridge station with more space and great facilities

Find out more at

Follow @TLProgramme

Network Rail

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain’s railway – the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts, and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.6bn journeys by rail every year - double the number of 1996 - and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We’re investing £38bn in the railway by 2019 to deliver more frequent, more reliable, safer services and brighter and better stations. @networkrailPR #BetterRailway

Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – Bedford to Brighton, Sutton, Wimbledon and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – London to Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – Fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria

GTR is now the largest rail franchise in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue and staff: GTR carries about 273 million passenger journeys per year, employs around 6,500 people and generates annual passenger revenues of approximately £1.3bn.

Details of the franchise: 22% of all UK passengers

  • 6,500 employees
  • £1.3bn annual revenue
  • £237m passenger journeys
  • £50m investment to enhance all 239 stations
  • 50% increase in capacity
  • 1,398 new train carriages
  • 10,000 additional morning peak seats into London
  • Free Wi-Fi at 104 stations
  • 20,000 days of customer service training for frontline employees
  • £1m per year for local communities to spend on improvements at stations

The GTR investment programme for stations includes funding for more CCTV, toilet refurbishments, new retail facilities, help points and car park improvements – as well as plans for increased motorcycle storage and improved transport integration.,,