Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has started to roll out free Wi-Fi on board more of its trains, helping passengers stay in touch on the go.
Following its arrival on Gatwick Express in September 2016, the worldwide web is now available on newly-introduced Class 387 trains on the Great Northern route to and from King's Cross. These modern carriages already boast power points at every pair of seats and much-needed air conditioning - the first-ever for the route.
From later this year and through next year, Wi-Fi will be steadily introduced across other fleets on the GTR network, including Southern’s metro and West London Line trains, Thameslink and other routes. Carriages into Moorgate will be fitted with the technology when these are replaced with air-conditioned trains in 2019.
GTR Engineering Director Gerry McFadden said: "GTR was brought in to modernise the railway. That means bringing in new trains as well as new services, infrastructure and working practices to address the massive increase in passenger numbers on this, the UK's most congested railway.
"One of the intended spin-offs is the introduction of on-board Wi-Fi. We've had it on our new Gatwick Express fleet for 10 months; now it's been switched on across our new Great Northern trains. Coupled with power points at every pair of seats and air conditioning, we're doing our best to give passengers a better journey. Steadily we'll be adding Wi-Fi to other trains in our fleet.”
Passengers will see Wi-Fi symbols on train doors. They can log on simply by telling their device to search for new Wi-Fi networks. There is no download limit but after a certain limit is reached, browsing speeds will be reduced to ensure others on board have a good connection (all websites will continue to load, just slower). The available remaining allowance is shown on the train operator’s Wi-Fi website landing page.
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services. It is the largest rail franchise in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue and staff: carrying about 326 million passenger journeys per year, and employing around 6,500 people. Its aim is to improve services across all four networks.
Southern has the highest passenger growth in the UK with numbers into London having doubled in 12 years - compared with the industry overall, doubling over the past 20 years. To meet this growth and to future-proof the network, GTR is modernising the rail service for passengers.
GTR has introduced more new trains in the past year than all other franchises put together, with 1,400 new carriages so far.
The transformative £7bn Thameslink programme will bring hundreds more daily services from 2018, increasing the number of trains though the central London core from 12 to 24 trains per hour. Network Rail has also launched a £300m programme to improve resilience across the GTR network
GTR is modernising how it works, with new technology in use at our stations and on our trains, smartcard ticketing and a new, flexible on-board role on many Southern services. This ensures fewer cancellations, and with more staff on board our trains now than ever before, passengers are enjoying a much better level of on-board customer service.
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.