Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has completed a five-year £2bn rolling stock procurement programme, which it says has turned ‘one of the UK’s oldest fleets into one of the most modern’.
On Tuesday (1 October), Great Northern ‘consigned to history’ the last of its 42-year-old Class 313 trains (left of picture) that had operated on the Moorgate route. All are now modern Class 717s (right of picture), it said.
GTR said that since its launch in September 2014 it has overseen the introduction of four fleets of trains and expanded another one.
It added that at the start of the franchise, the average age of the fleet was 20.4 years; it is now 12.5 years.
However, in August, new Class 717 and 700 trains failed to restart after a power outage and required technicians to restart them. The Class 700 trains have also been criticised for having 'ironing boards for seats'.
Chief operating officer Steve White said: ‘Today is a landmark moment for both GTR and its passengers as we continue to deliver on the industry’s hugely ambitious modernisation programme for our network.
'This £2bn programme of modernisation, much of which formed part of the Thameslink Programme, has transformed services for our passengers.’
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: 'The introduction of new carriages has been one of the biggest upgrades since the privatisation of our railways, replacing one of the UK’s oldest fleets.
'As a GTR passenger, I’ve regularly commuted on both the old and new trains and, with more space and better passenger information, these trains have significantly improved this service.’
GTR said it has overseen what is thought to be the biggest ‘cascade’ of rolling stock since privatisation – 1,526 new carriages brought into the franchise:
- 116 brand new Class 387/1 carriages (29 units) – initially used on the Thameslink network, now on Great Northern, operating as far as King’s Lynn
- 108 brand new Class 387/2 carriages (27 units) – serving Gatwick Express between Brighton, Gatwick and London Victoria
- 1,140 brand new Class 700 carriages (115 units) – serving the entire, expanded Thameslink network
- 150 brand new Class 717 carriages (25 units) – serving the Great Northern Moorgate route
- 12 Class 171 carriages (4 units) for Southern – adding to the existing fleet and facilitating the first longer 10-carriage services between Uckfield and London Bridge
It added that almost 900 carriages were 'cascaded' out while a further 880 were cascaded between routes within the network.
GTR said that with industry partners Siemens and Network Rail it has built or upgraded depots in Sussex and north London to house and maintain the new trains, along with additional and upgraded stabling at locations including Bedford, Cricklewood, Brighton, Horsham and Cambridge.