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Disused London railway site turned into Thameslink train wash facility

A disused piece of railway land has been converted into a new £40m traincare facility in Cricklewood, north London, for the Thameslink programme.

Opened on Friday, the new yard features a drive-through train wash to clean carriages on the busy Thameslink route between Bedford, London and Brighton, including for the new Class 700 trains when they come into service this spring.

It also boasts toilet emptying facilities and walkways for staff to remove rubbish from trains. Once the government-sponsored Thameslink programme rolls out its 24 trains-per-hour service from Blackfriars to St Pancras in 2018, it is estimated that staff at the Cricklewood sidings will handle around one tonne of rubbish every day.


The large facility, which can house 22 trains at a time, was built by Carillion with site operator Thameslink and Network Rail. It includes five 600m tracks and three 300m tracks that can accommodate up to 10 x 12-car trains in the south end and 12 x eight-car trains in the north end.

Keith Wallace, projects director at Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “These sidings are a crucial part of our plans to modernise Thameslink services to give our passengers new, spacious trains starting this spring and, from 2018, more frequent services at all our stations between Bedford and London.

“The facility is state-of-the-art and a credit to Network Rail and the Thameslink Programme team. Our 26 staff on site are already using them to keep trains clean.”

22-01-16-210Govia's Keith Wallace, Network Rail's Simon Blanchflower and Hendon MP Matthew Offord opening the facility

The location of the sidings was specifically chosen to allow trains to visit the facility around the clock to ensure the fleet is kept clean.

The Siemens-built Class 700s, for example, will run an intensive service to and through London from regions such as Bedford, Peterborough and Cambridge in the north and Brighton and Gatwick in the south.

A 240m 12-carriage train from the Siemens fleet was tested on the mainline between its depot at Three Bridges and Brighton in November, passing all initial tests that proved its compatibility with signalling.

Wallace said at the time that the train performed “excellently” and claimed the test run was a real milestone for Thameslink.

The programme hit another major milestone when, in December, a Network Rail Class 313 test train was able to run through central London entirely under ETCS control over two weekends of testing.

The trial’s success marked the culmination of six years’ worth of development work by the Thameslink team at test facilities in Hitchin and the lab in Southwark.


Barnetonia   26/01/2016 at 19:27

MP Matthew Offord has risen without trace from being Deputy Leader of Barnet Council. In 2007, he single-handedly mismanaged a new Thameslink bridge at Colindale, which then had to be rescued by spendng £11-million of Barnet council's reserves.

Andrew G   29/01/2016 at 05:23

A new improved siding will see the new Class 700 Desiro City Thameslink trains to be stored whilst Hornsey Depot on the ECML opens up in Spring not far from Cricklewood in North London.

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