Passengers travelling between London Bridge, Gatwick Airport and Brighton now have brand new Thameslink trains that are up to three times longer giving more space and more seats.
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has withdrawn the last of its older trains from this off-peak service, replacing them with cutting-edge Siemens Class 700 carriages.
The 12-carriage trains replace the mostly four-carriage (weekdays) and eight-carriage (Saturdays) twice-hourly service, creating 9,000 extra seats each weekday and much more space for passengers at Gatwick and families heading for the coast.
All the trains across Thameslink’s entire network are now new Class 700s. These travel between Brighton, St Albans and Bedford, Sevenoaks, Wimbledon and Sutton crossing central London via Blackfriars.
Trains on the wider network run with 8 carriages and 12 carriages. More 12-carriage trains will be introduced early next year as additional stabling facilities are built in Bedford. Already, Thameslink has 50% more carriages in service in the peaks on the Thameslink route than before the new trains were introduced.
GTR Engineering Director Gerry McFadden said: “Thameslink is now a Class 700-only route marking a significant milestone in our journey of modernisation towards a new high-frequency service through central London.
“Right now it means trains up to three times longer on the off-peak services between Brighton, Gatwick Airport and London Bridge and from May next year hundreds of thousands of new passengers from east Kent, Sussex, Cambridge and Peterborough will be plugged into the cross-London route when the Thameslink network expands.”
The trains have a spacious design and cutting-edge information systems that will tell passengers how London’s Tube trains are running and even which direction to walk to find more space on the train.
The new Class 700 trains have:
• 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
• Electronic signs showing which carriages have more space to sit or stand
• Screens with real time service information from London Underground
• 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
During the summer holidays, 3.4 million journeys were made with GTR to and from Gatwick airport, on Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Southern.
Passenger numbers on parts of the GTR network have doubled in as little as 12 years. GTR is addressing this by modernising the railway, much of it through the government-sponsored £7bn Thameslink Programme, introducing new trains to run over new infrastructure, often using new working practices.