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Modernised depot to transform Great Northern rail services

Press release   •   Dec 13, 2016 14:19 GMT

The new maintenance building at Hornsey

Great Northern passengers are set to see a transformation in rail services with the completion of an enlarged, modernised train depot in north London, which is now one of the biggest in the UK.

The traincare centre at Hornsey in north London will house and maintain a £1bn-worth of new train fleets and make possible a new, high intensity Thameslink service from Great Northern stations across central London to London Bridge, Gatwick and beyond as part of the government-sponsored Thameslink Programme.

Hornsey now boasts a new state-of-the-art maintenance building, built by Siemens using main contractor Volker-Fitzpatrick, large new sidings and improved servicing for the following additional modern trains which Great Northern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) will run:

  • Class 387 trains for Great Northern services between London King’s Cross and Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn (entering service now)
  • Class 700 trains for new Thameslink services across London to the south from many Great Northern stations between the capital and Peterborough and Cambridge (trains arrive on Great Northern in 2017 and begin running as Thameslink in 2018)
  • Class 717 trains for Great Northern suburban services from Welwyn Garden City, Hertford and Stevenage to and from Moorgate in the City of London (arriving late 2018)

All these trains will have air-conditioning, the latest passenger information systems, wheelchair accessible toilets and other features for passengers with disabilities.

Hornsey will also become a centre of excellence for apprenticeship schemes run there by both GTR and Siemens. Up to 20 apprentices (three of whom are pictured here) will be trained each year in the maintenance and servicing of a range of over six classes of trains.

GTR Engineering Director Gerry McFadden said:
“This enlarged and modernised facility will support the biggest fleet renewal in the history of this part of the Great Northern railway and create fabulous new journeys on to an expanded Thameslink network.

“The new maintenance building at Hornsey is a crucial part of the government-sponsored Thameslink Programme which will support the exciting new cross-London connections for passengers on much of our existing Great Northern route.

“Built specifically for Siemens to maintain our new Class 700 Thameslink trains, the new building complements the improved existing depot where we care for the Great Northern fleet and together they create a centre of excellence in engineering.”

Dave Hooper, Thameslink Programme Director for Siemens UK, said:
“Siemens is proud to have delivered the new depot at Hornsey on time and on budget. This will be a first class, state-of-the-art train care facility for the excellent new Class 700 Thameslink trains, which will make journeys in and out of London more comfortable and more reliable for passengers.”

Rail Minister Paul Maynard said:
“This new depot is another example of the enormous investment this government is making throughout the rail network. It is a major step in delivering the Thameslink Programme, which is transforming north-south travel through London, and will be used to maintain the new Thameslink trains, providing a modern, safe and accessible service for passengers.”

Chris Evans, managing director for the civil engineering division for VolkerFitzpatrick, added:
“We are very proud to have safely delivered Hornsey depot for Siemens, after already successfully completing Three Bridges depot as part of the Thameslink Programme in 2015. We carried out the construction of this flagship project in a challenging environment with rail lines in operation on this key route into London.”


Editor’s notes

The enlarged, modernised traincare facility at Hornsey
• The recent completion of the new Hornsey maintenance building, coupled with the existing building, has created one of the UK’s largest train servicing facilities (72,500 m2, the equivalent of 12.4 football pitches).
• Over 237 GTR staff work at the original maintenance building, maintaining a total of six classes of trains (Classes 313, 317, 321, 319, 365, 387). In the future, Siemens will maintain in the new maintenance building Class 700 Thameslink trains which are due to enter service next year and Class 717 Moorgate trains, which will arrive late 2018 for service in 2019.
• The technologically-advanced Class 700s trains, which have climate control, the latest passenger information systems and excellent features for the disabled, will start by running in and out of King’s Cross from mid-2017.
• Then, in May 2018, they will give passengers on the route services to brand new destinations by diverting through a tunnel to St Pancras International and from there connect with Thameslink stations including Farringdon (for Crossrail and Heathrow), London Bridge (for the Jubilee Line to Canary Wharf), and, in many cases, Gatwick and Brighton. Across central London, there will be up to 24 trains an hour in each direction from December 2018.
• The new maintenance building, completed on time and on budget, is part of the £300m investment by Siemens, that includes the Three Bridges depot opened in 2015 to service and maintain the Class 700 trains currently in operation on the Thameslink Brighton to Bedford route and Wimbledon Loop.
• Most of the building work at Hornsey was undertaken while the rail system and signalling was in operation on a key route into London.
• New depot facts: stabling capacity for 188 new Class 700 carriages (Class 717s); an underframe cleaning facility; 2 x carriage wash machines; 2 x bogie drops; full depot signalling (including power operated points, depot protection and points heating) to replace hand signalling and ensure safe/efficient movement of trains.
• Recent upgrades over the past two years to the original Hornsey depot as part of the Thameslink Programme include: a new control room and signal control depot; a second new underframe cleaning facility; security upgrade to the whole depot site; a new depot personnel protection system with CCTV and an automatic numberplate recognition system.

Thameslink Programme
• This new depot is a vital element of the Thameslink Programme which is transforming north-south travel through London with up to 24 trains per hour in each direction between Blackfriars and St Pancras International. 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:
o Improved connections and better choices to more destinations on an expanded Thameslink network
o New track and signalling systems, offering more reliable journeys, with fewer delays
o 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

Govia Thameslink Railway
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 326 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
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 a leading supplier of efficient power generation and 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 2016, which ended on September 30, 2016, Siemens generated revenue of €79.6 billion and net income of €5.6 billion. At the end of September 2016, the company had around 351,000 employees worldwide. Further information is available on the Internet at

VolkerFitzpatrick is a multi-disciplinary contractor with an annual turnover of c£515 million working in the civil engineering, building, rail, waste and energy infrastructure sectors.
Founded in 1921, the company has grown to become one of the top contractors in the UK and now employs more than 600 people. VolkerFitzpatrick’s success is based on ensuring it has a sound understanding of the client’s vision, which is then delivered on time and to budget.
VolkerFitzpatrick is part of VolkerWessels UK, a multi-disciplinary construction and civil engineering group with a turnover of c£850 million. VolkerWessels UK employs more than 2,500 staff in six operating companies.