Latest Rail News

09.01.18

Thameslink test trains travel through new London Bridge platform for first time

GTR’s first test passenger trains have made the trip through the new platform 5 at London Bridge following the completion of nearly three years of work.

The eight-carriage Class 700 RLU was the first passenger train to complete a journey over the new Bermondsey Dive-Under, as it came into London Bridge from New Cross Gate on New Year’s Day.

The operator says timetable changes will probably lead to the full opening of the new platform in May this year, following a period of driver and track training.

Speaking after travelling on the first service, GTR project manager Gwyn Jones commented: “It was a big moment to be on the first Class 700 train travelling on the new infrastructure into London Bridge and Blackfriars.

“The work will bring Thameslink back into London Bridge with dedicated routes, unblocking a bottleneck that will allow us to massively expand the Thameslink network this May.”

GTR’s new Class 700 fleet debuted on Thameslink services back in September 2017, with 12-carriage trains replacing mostly four-carriage (weekday) and eight-carriage (Saturday) twice-hourly services, meaning there are now 9,000 more seats every weekday.

Simon Blanchflower, Network Rail programme director for the Thameslink Programme, said: “This has already been a year of ‘firsts’ and this test train was a key moment for Thameslink.

“From this May, trains will run from platform 5 at London Bridge, offering new journeys and destinations from what has become one of the biggest and best stations in the country.”

Around 70% of the additional services which were expected as part of the Thameslink Programme expansion will be introduced in May, but GTR was forced to backtrack on promises of 24 trains per hour to avoid, as the project’s manager told RTM back in December, a “difficult period of train running where we can’t get the right level of reliability and operation.”

In addition, a National Audit Office review of services found that other services which feed into London were not at a sufficient level to fully support Thameslink’s network.

However, GTR is still driving through improvements to its services, with the full London Bridge station opening to passengers last week, boasting the final section of a large new concourse, and five new platforms which have been closed.

Top image: GTR

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Comments

Lutz   09/01/2018 at 12:30

RLU?

Mark Sudbury   09/01/2018 at 12:43

Reliably Late Unit?

Steve   09/01/2018 at 13:27

RLU = Reduced length Unit (8 car set). FLU = Full Length Unit (12 car unit).

Alfie   09/01/2018 at 13:27

Reduced length unit

Gabriel Oaks   09/01/2018 at 14:36

It doesn't matter if they are RLU or FLU. The seating in both is uncomfortable!

Ben   09/01/2018 at 14:43

When do Canal Tunnels come into operation, allowing Thameslink to reach the East Coast Main Line? May 2018 too?

Keith   09/01/2018 at 16:12

"Around 70% of the additional services which were expected as part of the Thameslink Programme expansion were introduced in November last year"??? The linked article says they will be introduced in May this year.

Andrew Gwilt   10/01/2018 at 02:14

Thameslink trains coming from Bedford, Luton, Brighton and Gatwick Airport will be using London Bridge when the new timetable is introduced in May. With Thameslink trains currently operating on the Sutton/Wimbledon loop and to Sevenoaks will still be using London Blackfriars and Elephant and Castle.

Henry Law   06/02/2018 at 20:55

What a pity the trains are designed for 20 minute journeys.

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