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Thameslink showcases future of commuting at London Blackfriars

Press Release   •   May 24, 2016 05:41 BST

  • Many new trains 50% longer, all feature latest in real-time information and fully accessible
  • Designed for high capacity, high intensity service from 2018

Broadcast B-roll and photographs available here:

Passengers can view a film on YouTube here:

A variety of 360-degree views of the interior of the train is available here:

Thameslink this morning (Tuesday) showcased the future of commuting when it unveiled the spacious new Siemens Class 700 Thameslink train at London Blackfriars station.

Fifty per cent longer than almost every train in the Thameslink fleet, the train put on show to media and stakeholders can carry up to 1,750 people seated and standing – the equivalent of 21 double-decker buses – and will be running on many routes to London from Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

The design is essential to meet the huge growth in passenger numbers that has soared 40% in the past decade.

When the first train enters service, passengers will notice:

  • Wider doors and aisles to make getting on and off easier
  • Spacious walkways between carriages to make it easier to move through the train to give a greater sense of security Two-by-two seating to create more room
  • Lots of luggage space – essential for airport travellers
  • Adaptive climate-controlled air conditioning which adjusts to the number of passengers to keep things comfortable
  • Electronic signs showing which carriages have more space to sit or stand Screens with real time service information
  • Fully accessible toilets for disabled passengers and those with pushchairs or needing baby changing facilities
  • Spaces for full-sized bikes in the off-peak; storage for fold-up bikes in the peak

Govia Thameslink Railway CEO Charles Horton said: “Not only will many of these trains be longer and more spacious, they’ll be cutting edge with real-time information from around the network and the Tube, and excellent facilities for people with disabilities.

“These trains have been designed to carry up to 1,750 people in climate-controlled comfort, which is essential to meet the huge growth in passenger numbers that have soared 40% in the past decade.

“And their wide doors, open interiors and state-of-the-art real-time passenger information systems will help us run a high frequency, high intensity service with over 80% more seats across the heart of London in 2018.”

Rail Minister Claire Perry said: “This is another significant milestone for the multi-billion pound Thameslink Programme. Projects like this show how our record £40 billion investment in the railways is delivering better journeys for passengers across the South East and beyond.

“This impressive new fleet of hi-tech trains will make a real difference to commuters and leisure travellers, with more space and better information screens. I look forward to seeing the improvements to passengers’ journeys as these trains are introduced to the Thameslink network.”

Sabrina Soussan, CEO of Mainline Transport at Siemens, said: “We at Siemens are delighted to be showcasing the Class 700 train today; it’s yet another example of our innovation and investment in the Thameslink Programme. Today’s event gives commuters the first real insight as to what their future journeys will look like and we are excited at how our innovations in terms of technology and capacity will transform passenger journeys across the network. Passengers will benefit from easier access made possible through the wider doors and greater space – changes that will make a big difference to everyday travel.”

Andy Pitt, Executive Chairman of train owners Cross London Trains (XLT), said: “This showcase event marks another important milestone in the Thameslink Programme. Cross London Trains is delighted to have provided the finance for this new state-of-the-art Class 700 train fleet which will bring significant benefit for passengers. I am really looking forward to seeing the first of these trains in passenger service in the next few weeks.”

Nick Gray, Network Rail’s Thameslink Programme Sponsor, said: “Launching this new generation of trains at such an iconic station symbolises what the Thameslink Programme is doing to transform rail travel across London. We have worked closely with our colleagues at Thameslink and Siemens to get the infrastructure ready for these trains to create a more reliable, regular and modern service.”


Editor’s notes

Contacts Roger Perkins, GTR press officer, 07711149245, email

Silke Thomson-Pottebohm, Siemens press officer, 07808 822780,

Thameslink Programme

  • These new trains are a vital element of the Thameslink Programme which is transforming north-south travel through London. This will increase capacity and improve connectivity to help meet the demands of rising passenger numbers on one of Europe’s busiest stretches of railway.
  • It has already led to improvements at key stations with lengthened platforms able to accommodate longer trains. From 2018, passengers will benefit from new trains, new stations, more reliable journeys and services to new destinations, giving customers:
  • Improved connections and better choices to more destinations on an expanded Thameslink network New track and signalling systems, offering more reliable journeys, with fewer delays
  • A completely rebuilt station at London Bridge with more space, much better accessibility and improved facilities for passengers
  • Find out more at or follow @TLProgramme

More capacity today and tomorrow

The introduction of the new 12 and 8 carriage Class 700 trains will significantly increase capacity across all routes, and provide more peak seats across London, between Blackfriars and London St Pancras International. Certain routes such as the Wimbledon/Sutton and Sevenoaks routes can accommodate only 8-carriage trains due to platform lengths and conflicting infrastructure such as road bridges. The new trains, however, can carry many more people in comfort, even in eight-carriage format. Here are some highlights:

  • More 12-carriage trains between Brighton, Gatwick Airport and the Blackfriars London St Pancras International, Thameslink cross-London route via London Bridge
  • An additional 1,000 seats along the Brighton to London route
  • By the end of 2018, the spacious new trains will run through central London under automatic control every 2-3 minutes
  • Inner central London capacity will increase with 80% more peak time seats from 2018
  • Quicker journey times from Brighton to London Bridge and Blackfriars
  • More services from Bedford with a significant increase in seats from St Albans to London
  • More seats from Peterborough and Cambridge to London and direct services to Farringdon (for Crossrail), London Bridge and Gatwick
  • Turn up and go service from East Croydon to London Bridge and the Blackfriars London St Pancras International cross-London route
  • New trains for suburban services on the Wimbledon Loop and Sevenoaks routes All these benefits will be underpinned by improved reliability

New, more spacious trains

  • At peak times on many key routes, the new Class 700 Thameslink trains will be 50% longer.
  • Designed to meet the demands of a mix of short (within London) and longer distance commuters, the new trains can carry up to 1,750 people seated and standing – that’s around 21 full double decker London buses!
  • During the peak, that’s the equivalent of over 400 buses going from one side of London to the other, in both directions, every hour.
  • This is to help meet the huge 40% growth in passenger numbers we have seen in the South East in this past decade.

Better connections, more destinations, more frequent, more reliable

  • From 2018, the new trains will reach more stations as the Thameslink route grows – allowing passengers to get into central London and across the capital without taking the Tube. Our passengers have never been better connected.
  • New links from Peterborough, Cambridge, Kent and Sussex – the full network map will be confirmed this summer
  • Journeys between Cambridge and Gatwick Airport will be just 1 hour 40 minutes– half an hour quicker than today
  • From December 2018, there will be new links from Farringdon via Crossrail’s services to Heathrow, making Farringdon an important new hub
  • By the end of 2018, there will be 115 new Class 700 trains in operation, providing a frequent service of up to 24 trains per hour across central London, between Blackfriars and London St Pancras International
  • These innovative trains will also be the first in Europe to use both the European Train Control System (ETCS) and Automatic Train Operation (ATO) devices together, providing industry leading standards in passenger safety.

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

  • Thameslink – services between Bedford and Brighton, Luton/St Albans and Sutton, Wimbledon 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

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.

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.,,

Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich) is a global technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 165 years. The company is active in more than 200 countries, focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization. One of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies, Siemens is No. 1 in offshore wind turbine construction, a leading supplier of gas and steam turbines for power generation, a major provider of power transmission solutions and a pioneer in infrastructure solutions as well as automation, drive and software solutions for industry. The company is also a leading provider of medical imaging equipment – such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging systems – and a leader in laboratory diagnostics as well as clinical IT. In fiscal 2015, which ended on September 30, 2015, Siemens generated revenue of €75.6 billion and net income of €7.4 billion. At the end of September 2015, the company had around 348,000 employees worldwide. Further information is available on the Internet at

Cross London Trains (XLT) is a consortium comprising Siemens Project Ventures GmbH, Innisfree Limited and 3i Infrastructure plc. XLT is procuring and financing the new Class 700 train fleet and leasing it to the operator of the Thameslink franchise.