Latest Rail News


GTR completes Gatwick Express fleet renewal

The renewal of the Gatwick Express fleet has now been completed, with a fleet of 27 Class 387/2 Electrostars introduced on the route after a seven month fleet renewal programme.

The £145m trains feature two-by-two seating with more leg room and under-seat storage capacity, power sockets, free wi-fi, real-time passenger service information, accessible toilets and wheelchair space.

Accessible toilets

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which operates the Gatwick Express route, also said it will introduce 29 Class 387/1 variant trains on the Great Northern route from October. These will give the route its first-ever air-conditioned service.

Gerry McFadden, GTR’s engineering director, said: “These trains mark a real step-change in comfort and travelling experience for our passengers.

“On Gatwick Express, they replace 30-year-old rolling stock that wasn’t really suited to the airport market. The 387s have two double doors per carriage so passengers can get on and off quicker and more easily, more luggage space and they accelerate faster.

“On Great Northern the 387/1s, which have already proved themselves on Thameslink for the past year, will replace our Class 317 and 321s that are 28 and 35 years old respectively. Passengers won’t fail to be impressed both by their interiors and their reliability.

“These are the first of three modern trains we’re bringing onto Great Northern where, over a few short years, we’ll be moving from one of the oldest fleets in the country to one of the newest.”

Tables and power sockets

GTR added that about half its 40 Class 365 trains will remain and these are going through a £30m refurbishment programme.

In total, 29 4-car Class 387/1s will be steadily introduced on to the Great Northern route starting from next month as GTR’s new Class 700 come into service.  The Class 700s will run to and from Peterborough and Cambridge and link into the Thameslink route at St Pancras International in 2018, and the Class 717 trains will operate the Moorgate services from 2019.

The Class 387/1s are already in service on the Bedford-Brighton Thameslink line, and will run between Cambridge and King’s Lynn from next year, subject to Network Rail infrastructure work.

Great Northern is planning to extend the King’s Cross to Cambridge services to Ely in 2017, again allowing for Network Rail work, and stopping services from King’s Lynn to Cambridge would also call at the new Cambridge North station from next year. Ultimately, Cambridge North will have four services an hour by 2019.

387110 pulling into Platform 10 at King's Cross 23.09.16

The company was originally planning to transfer 17 Class 377s from Thameslink to Greater Northern, but is now able to use the 387s instead, which can travel at 110mph instead of 100mph.

The Class 387s have also been procured by c2c and Great Western Railway. GTR announced yesterday that chief operating officer Dyan Crowther is leaving the company, which has faced persistent delays in recent months.

(Images c. GTR)

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Huguenot   27/09/2016 at 14:12

So what is going to happen to the 20 unwanted Class 365s from Great Northern? Apart from the absence of air conditioning, they are a popular train, with seating which is better than the 387s and especially more comfortable than the hard, narrow seats on the Class 700s.

Andrew Gwilt   27/09/2016 at 14:27

Which means that the 18 Class 442's will be stored at Eastleigh depot and Ely siding and 6 Class 442's will be transferred to Southern to operate the London Bridge-Eastbourne service. 29 Class 387/1's will soon be transferred to Great Northern to operate King's Cross-Cambridge, King's Linn and Peterborough services and GN's Class 317's and Class 321's will be transferred to Abellio GA and Arriva Northern and Thameslink Class 700/0 8-Car will soon be operated on Luton/St. Albans-Wimbledon/Sutton service with the Class 319's to be cascaded to Northern. With Gatwick Express now has all 27 Class 387/2's in service operating between London Victoria-Gatwick Airport and Brighton-Gatwick Airport with the pantograph on all 27 Class 387/2's to be removed so it can operate in DC 750v 3rd rail only and 45 Class 387's to be ordered and delivered for GWR with some already in service operating between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington and to be extended to Reading and other services including Reading-Gatwick Airport service via Guildford and 6 Class 387's to be ordered and delivered for c2c as it will be hired for 3 years.

Phil   27/09/2016 at 14:42

My guess for the displaced class 365 units, is we will see them go south of the Thames to Southeastern, where some of them were a number of years ago! Or alternatively to Southern to replace class 313 on coastal route services.

Fitology Phil   27/09/2016 at 15:43

As you say, "...a step-change in comfort." Unfortunately, a step DOWN. With all the advantages of the Class 387/2 trains, all they needed was the seats from the Class 442s and everyone would be happy (and comfortable!)

John Grant   27/09/2016 at 16:56

GTR have been trying to make the 365s less attractive, though; the new seats are quite spartan, the carpet has been replaced with lino, there are fewer tables, and most of the nameplates and special liveries have gone. It's not clear from the photo whether the 387s have carpets. But at least there will be through corridors, so people who got on at the back won't have to scramble into the other unit at Cambridge and staff can actually walk through the whole train. Hey, maybe that'll make it economic to bring back the drinks trolleys we used to have about 3 TOCs ago.

Andy B   28/09/2016 at 09:12

It wasn't that long ago that the GatEX had new rolling stock with the class 460 in 2000/1 which was specifically designed for airport passengers. They were withdrawn & replaced with the 1988 built 442's because of the need to run some services to Brighton due to capacity issues on the Brighton Mainline. The 460's were rebuilt as class 458 & moved to South West trains, so not entirely wasted!

Noam Bleicher   28/09/2016 at 10:53

What John said. The 365s were ruined by FCC in the latter years of the franchise, with the carpets ripped out and most of the seating bays of four replaced with airline seats. These are no longer an attractive inter-urban unit sadly.

Andrew Gwilt   28/09/2016 at 11:07

Will the Class 365's likely to be cascaded to or could it be scrapped or to be stored for future operation as the Class 387/1's are to take over the Great Northern routes and Class 321's and Class 317's are to be cascaded to Abellio GA and Northern or Abellio Scotrail with 13 Class 321's to be renumbered as Class 320's with 1 carriage removed and repained in Scotrail livery and 12 Class 317's could be cascaded to be used with London Overground operating on Lea Valley metro routes (Liverpool St-Enfield Town, Cheshunt and Chingford services) and 1-2 Class 317's being used on London Overground Romford-Upminster branch line until new Class 710's are to be ordered from next year for London Overground Lea Valley metro and Romford-Upminster routes.

David   28/09/2016 at 21:07

Andrew... why are you still insisting that Northern takes on older electric rolling stock. The Class 331s are going to replace their Class 321/322 and 323 fleets, and they'll be keeping some 319s, so I don't think they're going to need more.

Andrew Gwilt   29/09/2016 at 00:48

Properly you were right David.

Matthew Read   29/09/2016 at 11:06

A lot of rolling stock doesn't have an indefinite future the 365's can't be refitted with third rail equipment hence they should be used alongside 387's on the GWML or be retained on the Great Northern. Also the 442's should be used to provide capacity on the Brighton Main line where it is needed especially at weekends where they could provide relief services.

Jason Leyton   16/10/2016 at 11:33

Why does the 365 still have those retarded smiley faces. Plus why rearrange the seating plans to an airline seating style? Pathetic.... hope the 21 365's that are to be replaced by the new 700's return back to southeastern where they belong.

Andrew Gwilt   19/10/2016 at 21:43

Because the Class 365's aswell the Class 165's, Class 166's, Class 456's and Class 466's were built and manufactured by ABB.

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