First Class 700 makes successful mainline test run to Brighton

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) took the new Siemens Class 700 train on its first-ever test run on the mainline between its depot at Three Bridges and Brighton this week. 

The 240m 12-carriage train passed initial tests that proved its compatibility with signalling and will now begin other night-time test runs out of passenger service. 

Keith Wallace, programme director at GTR, said that the train performed “excellently” and the test run is a real milestone for the Thameslink programme which, from spring 2016, will steadily introduce these new trains onto the route. 

New train at Brighton 2

The first Siemens-built Class 700 Desiro City train for Thameslink arrived in the UK for testing in July at the Three Bridges Depot, which was officially opened in October by the transport secretary

The introduction of the new 12 and eight carriage Class 700 trains will significantly increase capacity across all routes, providing 80% more peak seats across the central London route, between Blackfriars and St Pancras. 

Siemens Thameslink programme director Dave Hooper said he was delighted to see the Class 700 out on test on the mainline. 

He added that it was the result of a lot of hard work from the whole Thameslink team, and “we look forward to the Class 700 going into passenger service in spring next year.” 

Recently, it was revealed that GTR recorded the worst quarterly punctuality figures for the routes it runs since 2004-5, at just 84%. 

Office of Rail and Road (ORR) figures have shown that the operator also had the steepest fall (3.2 percentage points) in its PPM figure this past quarter compared with last year, the lowest amount of peak services arriving on time, and the worst amount of overall cancellations and lateness since the time series began in 2004-5.


Andrew Gwilt   27/11/2015 at 11:38

With the 115 Class 700's to be delivered. 55 12 car Class 700/0's will be used on the Brighton to Bedford route as well from Peterborough and Cambridge to Brighton and 60 8 car Class 700/1's will be used on Bedford/Luton-Sutton/Wimbledon, Peterborough/Cambridge-Wimbledon/Sutton, Luton/St. Albans-Sevenoaks and other routes along with 12 car Class 700/0's to also be used on those routes as well. It will change the Thamelink network forever with the remaining Class 319's to be moved to the North of England and some Class 319's to be used with London Midland, Class 387/1's to be cascaded to GWR and Class 377/2/5's to be used on London King's Cross-Peterborough, Cambridge and King's Linn Great Northern routes replacing the Class 365's to GWR and Class 321's to be cascaded to Abellio Scotrail and the Hertford-Moorgate line to get new trains to replace the Class 313's.

Huguenot   27/11/2015 at 17:12

Well I just hope that GTR has sufficient drivers to be trained on the Class 700s. Last time Thameslink introduced new trains (the Class 387), they had to cancel a number of scheduled services because insufficient drivers were trained on the new units in time.

Simon   16/12/2015 at 14:38

Talking to someone the other week who has seen one of these units close up in the flesh and it does not bode well for customer feedback on these units. The seating is poor and uncomfortable as one would expect from the photos I have seen and also having seen one myself recently the internal lighting is incredibly bright, this is a train and not a hospital waiting room, still these will be better than the 319s which have done there service but even so I am sure the various station user groups will welcome these new trains to only find that there is less seating than there predecessors. The 387/1 are ok but the seating has much to be desired, iron board springs to mind and assume the new seating on the 700s will be like this for comfort anyway. The remaining 319s are rumoured to be going to Southeastern on the Victoria-Orpington services releasing the 365s to strengthen other metro services on the South Eastern network.

Bill   08/01/2016 at 11:38

@Huguenot the ultra-bright lighting reminds me of First Great Western's HST refit: the lights are so insanely bright that it's now standard to run them in “dim” mode with only half the tubes switched on … which is still very bright but at least doesn't actually hurt the eyes! Dimmer ambient lighting with reading lights mounted in the luggage racks is clearly enormously preferable. The current 387s are not bad in this regard though less ambient light would still be nice especially during the hours of darkness!

James Room   27/09/2016 at 14:01

I would certainly agreed that the seating is uncomfortable. the seat pitch insufficient for anyone approaching 6 feet tall, you find yourself having to sit sideways, the lighting is certainly on the harsh side but worst of all, as a daily commuter from Brighton..... no tables or tray tables, its an hour and twenty to London and I have a tablet, a phone and a coffee and I cant hold them all!! Incredibly shortsighted of Govia or worse they actually dont consider passenger comfort and convenience to be an important factor in rolling stock design!

Add your comment



rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Rail industry launches new interactive accessibly map for UK rail stations

17/04/2019Rail industry launches new interactive accessibly map for UK rail stations

A new interactive map which lets passengers find out about accessibility at stations has been launched by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) to help b... more >
Helium balloons causing ‘increasing number of train delays’ at cost of £1m

17/04/2019Helium balloons causing ‘increasing number of train delays’ at cost of £1m

Helium-filled balloons are causing hundreds of train delays at a cost of £1m in taxpayer money every year, Network Rail has revealed. ... more >
Dawlish sea wall gets council planning approval with construction to begin in May

17/04/2019Dawlish sea wall gets council planning approval with construction to begin in May

Plans for an £80m sea wall to protect the Dawlish coastal rail line from extreme weather have been by approved by Teignbridge District Coun... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

West Midlands Rail Executive’s Malcolm Holmes on the 30 year Rail Investment Strategy and working with Midlands Connect

08/04/2019West Midlands Rail Executive’s Malcolm Holmes on the 30 year Rail Investment Strategy and working with Midlands Connect

Malcolm Holmes, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Rail Executive, joins us to discuss the 30-year Rail Investment Strategy, and how he and his team are working closely with Midlands Connect to deliver on uplifting capacity and bettering services for people across the region ahead of TCR Midlands 2019. What do your roles as Ex... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Changing the London skyline with HS2

26/03/2019Changing the London skyline with HS2

Lisa Hogben, HS2 programme delivery manager for area south enabling works, explains how the arrival of HS2’s first tower cranes shows chang... more >
Picking up the pace with high-speed track handovers

26/03/2019Picking up the pace with high-speed track handovers

In 2018 Steve Featherstone, programme director of track at Network Rail, set his team a challenge to secure 100 high-speed track handovers in a y... more >
26-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

19/03/201926-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

After a nine-month national trial, the rail industry launched its seventh National Railcard for 26-30-year-olds on 2 January 2019. Rail Delivery ... more >
Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

19/03/2019Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

The world-renowned Caledonian Sleeper, due to begin operations at the end of spring 2019, completed its first Scotland to London journey earlier ... more >

rail industry focus

View all News


Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >