Five-car dual-voltage Class 377/7 electric multiple units entered traffic with Southern on June 23.
First to be used was 377703, and by the end of the week 377701-377706 were all in traffic, with 377707/708 undergoing testing. All eight are owned by Porterbrook, as is the rest of Southern’s Class 377 fleet.
The dual-voltage trains have been ordered to increase capacity on the West London Line. They run between East Croydon and Milton Keynes Central, and work on commuter trains to and from London Victoria.
Southern said: “By the late summer, most services on the line will have been lengthened, and will be formed of either five or doubled in size to eight coaches.”
Platform lengthening at Clapham Junction, Imperial Wharf, West Brompton and Shepherd’s Bush, plus the introduction of another 40 new carriages into the Southern fleet, has enabled the operator to lengthen trains on this busy line.
The introduction of Class 377/7s on the West London Line completes Southern’s investment in new trains during the current franchise, bringing the total number of additional carriages on its network to 227 since the start of the franchise in 2009 - a net gain of more than 10,000 extra seats.
The new fleet follows the introduction of 26 five-car Class 377/6s on Metro trains to and from London Victoria. These entered traffic last year, having been ordered in December 2011 (RAIL 687).
The introduction of the Class 377/7s has allowed Southern to release Class 377/2s that will be sub-leased to First Capital Connect. Six will move to FCC, with 377208/214 the first to transfer (RAIL 752).
From September 14 2014, the Thameslink Southern & Great Northern franchise will operate Thameslink routes using the ‘377/2s’ and ‘377/5s’ alongside existing Class 319 fleets.
They will be joined by Class 387s being ordered by Southern (RAIL 749).