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First new Thameslink trains arrive on Peterborough route
Rail passengers at Peterborough, Huntingdon, St Neots, Sandy, Biggleswade, Arlesey, Hitchin, Stevenage and Finsbury Park will on Monday (6 November) have the first chance to ride two new cutting-edge Thameslink trains that are so smart they tell passengers how the Tube is running and where to find more space onboard.
For now, the trains will continue to run on two peak hour services to and from King’s Cross but from May they and many others operating to Peterborough and Cambridge will start to operate through new tunnels to St Pancras. This will give passengers not only quicker, direct journeys to new central London stations and Gatwick Airport and beyond but also, increasingly, thousands more seats in the peaks through longer trains and additional services.
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is introducing the Siemens-built trains as it delivers its modernisation upgrade through the government-sponsored Thameslink Programme. When timetable changes start to be introduced from 2018 they represent the culmination of years of complex work to build the foundations of new capacity and routes providing an incremental step change in service improvements for the years to come.
GTR is replacing 75% of the fleet on Great Northern bringing in modern, air-conditioned trains. The new Thameslink trains are some of those trains that GTR is replacing.
- The Thameslink trains have a spacious design and cutting-edge passenger information systems that give passengers London Tube updates and tell them where to find more space on the train
- They have wider doors and aisles to make getting on and off easier and quicker
- Spacious walkways between carriages make it easier to move through the train to give a greater sense of security
- Two-by-two seating creates more room
- There are 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
- new direct services to the following central London stations:
- St Pancras International
- Farringdon (connections with Crossrail’s Elizabeth Line to Heathrow and Canary Wharf from December 2018)
- City Thameslink (for the City)
- London Blackfriars (for the City, the South Bank, Tate Modern and Globe Theatre)
- London Bridge (for connections to Kent and south London)
- New direct links to Gatwick Airport
- A quicker and more efficient travel experience, saving passengers’ time by reducing the need to use the Tube
GTR Engineering Director Gerry McFadden said:
“These first new Thameslink trains on the Great Northern route are a shape of things to come and feature the latest in technology. Their introduction is part of a broader fleet modernisation programme that has seen most of our older trains withdrawn and new trains introduced to Cambridge, Peterborough and King’s Lynn. This will continue into next year with new trains on the Moorgate line.
“At GTR we’re modernising the railway and starting in May we’ll be giving passengers longer trains and more services to provide vital added seats on a route that has seen a 70% increase in passenger numbers in just 14 years.
“This increase in capacity, coupled with trains to new central London stations, Crossrail and Gatwick Airport, will transform the lives of thousands.”
Rail Minister Paul Maynard said:
“Improving rail services is a priority for the government, which is why we are making the biggest investment in the network since Victorian times - including £7bn expanding the Thameslink network which will transform north-south travel across London and the south east.
“This new fleet of modern trains will provide more space and comfort for passengers and greater access for disabled passengers, while cutting-edge information systems will inform passengers where there are unused seats on the train.”
Railfuture East Anglia Branch Chairman Nick Dibben said:
“Many commuters will have seen these new trains in the sidings in recent months so will be looking forward to trying them out in real life. The new information screens will help people find a seat and I look forward to the new cross London services and extra seating that will be provided from next May.”
Vernon Barker, Managing Director for Rail Systems at Siemens, said:
“The Class 700 trains are some of the most advanced trains operating in the UK and are increasingly delivering more comfortable and reliable journeys in and out of London. With the launch of these additional routes, more passengers will be able to experience the full benefits of these modern and innovative trains.”
The two new trains that enter service this Monday (6 November) are 12-carriage Siemens-built Class 700 Thameslink trains. They will join the Great Northern Peterborough-King’s Cross route, replacing services that leave Peterborough at 06:56 and 07:33 and return from King’s Cross at 17:42 and 18:12.
A new timetable will be introduced in phases from May 2018 and will provide significant capacity increases into London in the morning peak:
Cambridge: by the time the programme is complete almost twice as many carriages and almost double the number of standard class seats – 4,600 more vs 5,000 with over 2,000 more additional fast service seats
Peterborough, Huntingdon, St Neots: by the time the programme is complete almost a third more carriages with over 7,000 more seats (over 20% more)
Sandy and Arlesey: by the time the programme is complete, 50% more carriages and over 3,800 more seats (over 35% more)
Royston: by the time the programme is finished, over a third more carriages and almost a third more seats – over 9,000 more
Foxton, Meldreth and Shepreth: Northbound platforms are being lengthened for eight-carriage trains and the stations will get eight-carriage new Thameslink trains, unlike the mostly 4-carriage trains they receive today. To London passengers at these stations will have a third more carriages and a quarter more seats.
Biggleswade: three-quarters more carriages and over 60% more seats (over 6,500 more)
Hitchin: over 50% more carriages and almost 50% more seats (over 12,000 more)
Stevenage: a third more carriages and almost a quarter more seats (over 12,000 more)
How this fits into GTR’s modernisation programme:
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is expanding the cross-London Thameslink network and simplifying timetables throughout the South East starting from May 2018. This is central to our plans to modernise services. New trains, new rail routes and updated working practices will future-proof Southern, Gatwick Express, Thameslink and Great Northern where passenger numbers, in some places, have doubled in just 12 years. Passenger numbers on the route into King’s Cross have soared over 70% among all operators in 14 years.
- These new Thameslink trains, built by Siemens, are a vital element of the Government-sponsored 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
- Network Rail is rebuilding London Bridge with more space, much better accessibility and improved facilities for passengers
- Find out more at ThameslinkProgramme.co.uk or follow @TLProgramme
Govia Thameslink Railway
- 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 the largest rail franchise in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue and staff. The operator carries about 326 million passenger journeys per year, and employs around 6,500 people. Its aim is to improve services across all four networks.
Southern has the fastest passenger growth in the UK with numbers into London having doubled in 12 years - compared with the industry as a whole 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 500 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 up to 15 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.