Troubled Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has completed its upgrade of trains on Thameslink services.
It has has withdrawn the last of its older trains from the off-peak service between London Bridge, Gatwick Airport and Brighton, replacing them with ‘cutting-edge’ Siemens Class 700 carriages.
The company, which also runs Southern trains, said the 12-carriage trains create 9,000 extra seats each weekday, providing more space for passengers at Gatwick and families heading for the coast.
All the trains across the Thameslink’s network are now new Class 700s, although some have only eight carriages.
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.’
Rail minister Paul Maynard said: ‘I am delighted we have reached this significant milestone for the multi-billion pound Thameslink Programme. It shows how our investment in the railways is delivering better journeys for passengers across the network, as well as supporting jobs and growth.'
GTR said the trains have a ‘spacious design’ and ‘cutting-edge’ information systems that will tell passengers how London’s Tube trains are running and 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'
- Adaptive climate-controlled air conditioning
- Fully accessible toilets for disabled passengers and those with pushchairs or needing baby changing facilities