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24.09.14

New Thameslink trains unveiled at InnoTrans

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has launched Siemens’ new Class 700 Desiro City trains, which will form the main rolling stock fleet for the £6.5bn government sponsored Thameslink Programme, at InnoTrans.

At the tenth edition of InnoTrans in Berlin, three fully-assembled cars for the new Class 700 trains were unveiled for the first time by Siemens, alongside fleet owner Cross London Trains and new operator Govia Thameslink Railway Limited.

It is expected that the new electric Class 700 train will offer a much improved travel experience for passengers, alongside the wider infrastructure improvements being delivered by Network Rail as part of the Thameslink Programme.

Thameslink 3

The first units, approximately 25% lighter than previous generations and up to 50% more energy efficient, will run on the Thameslink Bedford to Brighton service through central London in spring 2016 and on Peterborough and Cambridge Great Northern services a year later.

By the end of 2018, when the Thameslink Programme is complete, the two services will join at St Pancras International, and run through central London every two to three minutes at the busiest times – equating to 24 trains per hour in each direction between St Pancras International and London Blackfriars.

McLoughlin said: “A world-class rail network needs world-class trains, and it is fantastic to see the spacious and energy-efficient new carriages that passengers will soon be able to use. These trains will provide real benefits to passengers when they come into operation.”

Thameslink 4

The trains will run on a newly-upgraded network, featuring a state-of-the-art signalling system and rebuilt stations at London Bridge and Blackfriars. The Thameslink network will also provide an inter-change with London’s new Crossrail line via an expanded and upgraded station at Farringdon.

At the unveiling ceremony, Dr Jochen Eickholt, CEO Siemens-Division Rail Systems, said: “Over €80m has been invested by Siemens in the design and development of the Class 700. This represents an investment in innovative rail design, leading technology and an improved passenger experience.”

Recently, the new Desiro City train was chosen to provide additional capacity on the South West Trains franchise for passengers travelling into London Waterloo, the UK’s busiest station, as part of a £210m deal.

Thameslink 1

Charles Horton (pictured top), chief executive officer of Govia Thameslink Railway Limited, which operates Thameslink and Great Northern services, said: “The Class 700 will completely transform the travelling experience of our passengers, unlocking the potential of the Thameslink Programme to increase capacity and address the heavy crowding many experience on a daily basis.

“Acting as delivery agent for the government, we will introduce this new fleet, with trains arriving first on Thameslink in 2016 and then on Great Northern a year later. When the two routes join in 2018 there will be fabulous new connections across the south east.”

Last year, Johannes Schmidt, CEO of Project & Structured Finance Infrastructure and Cities & Industry at Siemens Financial Services (SFS), gave RTM the inside track on how financing helped secure the Thameslink deal for the company.

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

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