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Thameslink’s 24tph introduction held over to 2019

Class 700s at London Blackfriars. PAUL BIGLAND/RAIL.

Govia Thameslink Railway will introduce the full 24 trains per hour through the central London ‘core’ between St Pancras International and Blackfriars, as part of the £6 billion Thameslink programme, in December 2019, and not December 2018 as planned.

The decision has been taken following an independent review into the plans. It is designed to reduce the risk of delays being introduced into the national network on May 20 2018, when the largest national timetable change takes place.

GTR and Network Rail were both ready for the December 2018 launch, but a series of meetings involving stakeholders has led to the decision to mitigate potential risk created by the introduction of new trains on new routes with new drivers and new frequencies.

However, GTR will start running some trains on routes earlier than planned. Speaking exclusively to RAIL on November 15, Chris Gibb, chairman of the Thameslink Programme Industry Readiness Board, said that as soon as drivers were trained, GTR services would be diverted via London Bridge from January instead of May, and via the Canal Tunnels from April.

He said the former diversion would offer savings of eight minutes on Thameslink trains, enable drivers based north of the river Thames to learn the route, and create extra capacity for Southern’s Metro services.

“By phasing the introduction of the new timetable in this way, we have front-loaded the benefits for passengers and then spread further changes in such a way that they can be more reliably introduced,” he added.

  • Read the full story in RAIL 840, published on November 22, and available on iPad/Android now. 

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  • FrankH - 22/11/2017 12:50

    Makes sense, a gradual increase instead instead of a big bang introduction. Let everything bed in slowly so if things do go wrong or need tweaking it can be done without mass disruption.

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  • James Smith - 22/11/2017 14:53

    All these promises of the enhanced services with the new trains that would be introduced in December 2018 have been delayed by a year. Not good news for the customer! Surely those accommodating the changes should have known this sooner?

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    • FrankH - 24/11/2017 15:16

      They should have and probably thought yes that'll work. It's only until they looked at the infrastructure as it is and the amount of new thameslink services planned on top of the May timetable change did someone realise it won't work until we do more upgrades in the south east suburban area. To put it bluntly there was no safety net in case something went wrong, and you have to have some spare capacity to cushion any delays.

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  • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 23/11/2017 17:03

    Why not allow some of the Class 700’s to go as far as Ely and King’s Linn if GTR allows the Class 700’s to head up to Ely and Kings Linn. Once the new timetable is being introduced next year.

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    • FrankH - 24/11/2017 14:58

      Once the May timetable change has bedded in and is running smoothly a gradual introduction of services is intended, Kings Lynn could be one of the first, who knows.

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      • AndrewJGwilt1989 - 24/11/2017 23:23

        Possibly 8-Car Class 700's could be ideal for King's Linn and 12-Car Class 700's to reach as far as Ely.

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        • FrankH - 27/11/2017 14:16

          Everything from that area uses 365's so until there's enough 700's to cover the Peterborough - London services I think Cambridge will have to wait.

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