The first Class 700 for Thameslink is unveiled today at Blackfriars (May 24) ahead of entry into traffic.
There are 15 Class 700 electric multiple units, built by Siemens, in the UK, and they will begin to enter traffic soon.
The trains are 50% longer than almost every train in the existing Thameslink fleet. They can carry 1,754 passengers (seated and standing) and will run on the Bedford-Brighton route initially before eventually serving Peterborough and Cambridge.
Govia Thameslink Railway Chief Executive Charles Horton said: “Not only will many of these trains be longer and more spacious, they’ll be cutting edge with real-time information from around the network and the Tube, and excellent facilities for people with disabilities.
“These trains have been designed to carry up to 1,750 people in climate-controlled comfort, which is essential to meet the huge growth in passenger numbers that have soared 40% in the past decade.
Rail Minister Claire Perry said: “This is another significant milestone for the multi-billion pound Thameslink Programme. Projects like this show how our record £40 billion investment in the railways is delivering better journeys for passengers across the South East and beyond. This impressive new fleet of hi-tech trains will make a real difference to commuters and leisure travellers, with more space and better information screens. I look forward to seeing the improvements to passengers’ journeys as these trains are introduced to the Thameslink network.”
Sabrina Soussan, chief executive of Mainline Transport at Siemens, added: “Today’s event gives commuters the first real insight as to what their future journeys will look like and we are excited at how our innovations in terms of technology and capacity will transform passenger journeys across the network. Passengers will benefit from easier access made possible through the wider doors and greater space – changes that will make a big difference to everyday travel.”
Network Rail Thameslink Programme Sponsor Nick Gray was also excited about the new trains, saying: “Launching this new generation of trains at such an iconic station symbolises what the Thameslink Programme is doing to transform rail travel across London. We have worked closely with our colleagues at Thameslink and Siemens to get the infrastructure ready for these trains to create a more reliable, regular and modern service.”
- Full coverage of the launch will be in RAIL 802, published on June 8.