Inbox

18.11.14

GTR orders 27 new Class 387-2s to replace Gatwick Express fleet

Govia Thameslink Railway has confirmed that it has placed a £145.2m order with Bombardier for 27 new four-car trains for its Gatwick Express services, as first reported by RTM last month.

The new trains, which will be built in Derby, are to be four-car Class 387/2 Electrostar EMUs and will replace the fleet of five-car Class 442 EMUs built in the 1980s that have been operating on the route since 2008. They have never been ideal stock to run an airport rail link, and their future is unclear.

GTR says the new trains, due to enter service in 2016, will be “specially designed for the rail-air route with easier boarding, better luggage space, 2+2 seating and wi-fi.”

Charles Horton, CEO of GTR and managing director of Southern, said: “This is great news for our Gatwick passengers, but also for those travelling from Brighton, as in the off-peak some of these trains will be extended to there, while still maintaining the fast connection between Victoria and Gatwick.”

The contract is a follow-on to a previous order for 116 Class 387/1 cars which Southern, a Govia company, placed in July 2013. These were ordered on behalf of the DfT for interim use by on the Thameslink route between Bedford, London and Brighton from December 2014 until 2016, following the delays in confirmation of the deal with Siemens to build the long-term stock for the route: the Class 700 Desiro City fleet.

When RTM talked to Southern’s fleet overhaul and projects manager Iain Nairne, overseeing the procurement, last month, he told RTM: “The build of the trains is well advanced and we’re on target from that perspective. The process now is to start fault-free running and to start introducing the trains into service once that’s been concluded.

“Compared to the [Class] 319 trains that they will replace, they are a significant improvement.”

At that stage, 12 units were fully built, ready to start the fault-free running process at Bletchley, and units 13-16 were on the production line at Derby.

By May 2015 GTR expects “virtually every train” on the Thameslink Bedford to Brighton service will be an Electrostar. The DfT say that this will allow the current Class 319 EMUs to be cascaded onto newly-electrified routes in the north west.

Horton added: “We took over the operation of the Thameslink route in September and already we are introducing new trains which will transform our passengers’ journeys on services between Bedford and Brighton.”

Horton will be hoping performance improves: GTR has had a difficult first few weeks as the new operator of services on Thameslink, with poor punctuality figures.

Rail minister Claire Perry said: “These new British-built trains are great news for passengers and a boost for the economy. They will transform journeys on the Gatwick Express and Thameslink routes and safeguard jobs at Bombardier’s Derby factory.

“As part of our long-term economic plan, over £38bn is being invested in improving our railways over the next five years and it’s great to see companies like GTR investing in the service it provides for its customers.”

(Image: New Class 387 unit 387101, making runs up and down the Old Dalby test track. Copyright Resilient Photography)

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

R D Burch   25/11/2014 at 12:00

It is good to see new stock ordered but I wonder what will happen to the 442's since they were given quite a good makeover for the GE route. Perhaps a marketing campaign could be launched to promote new fast routes using the 442 stock. There is already an almost non stop service to brighton, this could utilise the 442's and be reintroduced as the Brighton Belle. What about other Coastal Stations such as Hastings and Eastbourne. These could benefit from fast services too. The present 377 stock could then be utilised to lengthen other routes and reduce the overcrowding. With the Gatwick Express in mind, the cost of the fare must be far closer in cost to the standard fare to encourage air passengers to use the new units rather than try and cram as much as they can into already overcrowded standard services. The airport and railway company need to emphasise the value of using the new Gatwick Express stock thus making it easier for travellers from stations closer to London to get in and not stagger past huge quantities of cases and bags.

Andrew Gwilt   28/11/2014 at 11:43

So Bombardier are building the Class 387/1's & 387/2's to increase reliability on the Thameslink & Gatwick Express routes. x29 387/1's for Thameslink x27 387/2's for Gatwick Express. What about Bombardier to build more Class 379 Electrostars for Abellio Greater Anglia to cascade the 72x Class 317's and 94x Class 321's with 120x Class 379 Electrostars. 60x 379/1 & 60x 379/2 for Abellio Greater Anglia with another 20x (50x) 379/0 for Stansted Express (London Liverpool Street-Stansted Airport). I love how Bombardier are building the next generation Electrostar trains for the UK.

Nonsuchmike   12/12/2014 at 15:37

The blurb says they will cascade to the NW, probably between Manchester & Liverpool to start with. It would be too much to expect them to be on the newly electrifying Wrexham/Chester run, or on the soon to be upgraded Halton Curve to actually include North Wales as a direct access to/from Liverpool. Or maybe they will think outside of the box for once in their sweet lives and put them cross country from Lincoln to the NW via Nottingham or via Sheffield. You never know with these people in securitised offices, they have a nasty habit of doing what you least expect just for devilment, I do declare!

Nick Thompson   22/01/2015 at 02:08

This takes me back, I did a lot of work on the original Class 442 cars and assisted on the commissioning of the sets in the south

Stuart Rivett   15/04/2015 at 22:21

Why can't we have some nice new trains in the north east for a change & GTR can have our lovely 142's. Honestly, you'd love them !

Colin Burnham   03/03/2016 at 19:04

Gatwick Express CL 387/2 Absolutely the most uncomfortable seating ever rock hard just one step away from wooden bench seating,a real backward step in passenger comfort

Commuter Woe   24/05/2016 at 20:20

What a let down! The most beautiful shiny train with the most awful seats! I have been commuting on the GE for 8 years and could snooze comfortably...now I dread the journey!

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Crossrail restarts dynamic testing on Elizabeth Line after series of delays

18/01/2019Crossrail restarts dynamic testing on Elizabeth Line after series of delays

Crossrail has begun operating test trains on the Elizabeth Line, restarting a crucial part of testing after months of setbacks and delays. T... more >
Unions launch campaign after closure notice served on 200-job Glasgow rail depot

18/01/2019Unions launch campaign after closure notice served on 200-job Glasgow rail depot

Rail maintenance company Gemini Rail has served a closure notice on its Springburn depot and served workers with redundancy notices, sparking uni... more >
Former Highways England manager to join Transport for the North in new director role

18/01/2019Former Highways England manager to join Transport for the North in new director role

A former Highways England manager is set to join Transport for the North (TfN) to operate as the body’s new strategy and programme director... more >
Train derailment between Sheffield and Doncaster prompts RAIB investigation

17/01/2019Train derailment between Sheffield and Doncaster prompts RAIB investigation

The RAIB have launched an investigation into a train derailment after a freight train came off the tracks between Sheffield and Doncaster, causin... 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 TOC, gives RTM an update on the innovative scheme... more > more last word articles >

interviews

Rail Ombudsman interview: RTM sits down with CEO Kevin Grix

20/12/2018Rail Ombudsman interview: RTM sits down with CEO Kevin Grix

In November, the first ever Rail Ombudsman was established in a bid to give passengers a free independent service to allow passengers to claim co... more >

the sleeper's daily blog

5 reasons why you should be involved with TransCityRail

18/01/20195 reasons why you should be involved with TransCityRail

TransCityRail brings a unique opportunity to gain invaluable insight into what’s happening in the rail industry across the Midlands, exhibit, and place your brand in front of budget-holders whilst taking advantage of the hours of networking with senior decision-makers. 5 reasons why you should be involved with TransCityRail Midlands ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Repoint: revolutionising track switch

15/01/2019Repoint: revolutionising track switch

Sam Bemment, senior R&D engineer at Loughborough University, brings us an update on the Repoint project – a scheme which has transforme... more >
ORR: Defining an 'efficient' railway

15/01/2019ORR: Defining an 'efficient' railway

Ahead of CP6, Howard Taylor, cost manager of railway planning and performance at the ORR, dives deep into the regulator’s assessment of wha... more >
Network Rail & Innovate UK: Ready for the future

15/01/2019Network Rail & Innovate UK: Ready for the future

As part of its Open for Business programme, Network Rail recently teamed up with Innovate UK to give businesses a chance to win a share of £... more >
CP6: Room for improvement

15/01/2019CP6: Room for improvement

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), assesses Network Rail’s confirmed spending plans for CP6. Th... more >

rail industry focus

View all News