The first Class 717 carried passengers on the Great Northern network on September 28.
The six-car dual-voltage Desiro City (717007), built by Siemens in Krefeld, Germany, ran from Moorgate to Gordon Hill. The remaining 24 sets will enter traffic in a phased introduction between now and next Spring.
They provide 27% additional capacity compared with the Class 313s they will replace. The older EMUs date from 1976/77.
The Class 717s are funded by Rock Rail Moorgate (a joint venture between Rock Rail Holdings and Aberdeen Standard Investments) in a £240 million deal. They feature air-conditioning, power sockets and WiFi.
The trains will be used on the GN network from Moorgate to Stevenage, Hertford North and Welwyn Garden City.
Each ‘717’ has capacity for 943 passengers, for which there are 362 seats (including 64 priority seats and 15 tip-ups).
Gerry McFadden, GTR Director of Engineering said: “They will all be the maximum length for this route. As well as air conditioning, power points, and free Wi-Fi, there are real-time passenger information screens to make travelling with Great Northern a much more comfortable and convenient experience.”
- For the FULL story, read RAIL 863, published on October 10, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle from October 6.