The first Siemens Class 700s will enter traffic in “the next few weeks”, according to operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which launched the first of the 115 electric multiple units (12-car 700109) at Blackfriars on May 24.
GTR is currently taking delivery of the trains, which were ordered by the Department for Transport following a lengthy procurement process.
The first arrived in the UK last summer. When all the trains are delivered, Siemens will have built 1,140 vehicles formed into 60 eight-car trains (700001-700060) and 55 12-car trains (700101-700155). Each vehicle is 20 metres long and the last ‘700’ arrives in the UK in June 2018. They are built in Krefeld, Germany.
They are designed as high capacity trains that are 50% longer than many of the trains that they will replace, and able to carry 1,754 people. The trains are designed to serve Gatwick and Luton Airports as well as the ‘core’ in central London between London Bridge/Elephant & Castle and Kentish Town, where 24 trains per hour will operate in each direction from December 2018.
GTR said that the design was essential to meet huge passenger growth, which has soared by 40% in the past decade. The trains feature wider doors and aisles, to make getting on and off easier, as well as spacious walkways between carriages made possible by the removal of vestibules.
- For more on the launch of the Class 700s, read RAIL 802, published on June 8.