Passengers travelling with Southern can now log on to free Wi-Fi on all 299 of its trains now that engineers from parent company Govia Thameslink Railway have completed a massive installation programme.
The technology is also available on all 27 Gatwick Express trains as well as almost all those on Great Northern. The main exception on Great Northern is the Moorgate fleet which, by the end of summer, will have been fully replaced by brand new, Wi-Fi-enabled carriages.
Over 20 staff from Govia Thameslink Railway’s engineering team have worked a total of 40,000 hours overnight to fit the technology to around 420 trains, which is the vast majority of the fleet. In the process they’ve used enough cable to stretch from London Victoria to Brighton station.
The complex process involves installing over 120 components to each train with extensive testing to ensure each carriage has a good signal. With trains travelling up to 100 mph, the system depends on antennae linked to multiple 4G data providers.
Shakeel Mamanji, GTR’s Rolling Stock Contracts Manager, said: “The project to fit Wi-Fi to our trains has been hugely successful. Managing the installation on so many trains and train types in such a short space of time, while ensuring we still have enough available for service, has been a challenge.
“I’m delighted that, thanks to the skill of our engineering team, the project went incredibly smoothly, and customers will now see an instant benefit to their journeys.”
Trains are not the only place passengers can log on. The technology is also available at 105 stations across the network, which was installed in 2016.
Notes to editors
Wi-Fi stickers on train windows indicate that the service is available. Passengers simply switch on their device’s Wi-Fi and look for one the networks to connect to:
Upon opening the web browser passengers will be taken to the welcome screen, to click ‘Connect’ and go online.
On Thameslink, Wi-Fi was fitted as standard on 46 of its 105 trains. Options are being explored to retrofit the remainder.
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
- Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
- Great Northern – services between London and 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