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First Gatwick Express Class 387-2 to enter service by end of month

The first new Gatwick Express four-car Class 387/2 EMU will enter service between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport on 29 February.

This will mark the first of the 27 new Electrostars to be rolled out across Gatwick Express over the coming months to replace the current 30-year-old fleet.

The trains are based on the Class 387/1 carriages ordered for use on Thameslink services between Bedford and Brighton, but have been specially designed to better serve passengers going to and from the airport.

As a result, the new £145m fleet comprises 108 carriages with more first class seats, power sockets throughout, on-train wi-fi, over-seat lighting and 2x2 seating with more leg room and under-seat storage capacity.

The fleet was bought by Govia Thameslink Railway in November 2014 to replace the five-car fleet of 1980s Class 442 EMUs that have been operating on the route since 2008, but have never been considered ideal stock to run an airport rail link.

As part of the testing process, which is being carried out at Bombardier’s Derby plant, a newly branded train stopped off briefly at Gatwick recently, giving passengers on the platform a sneak preview.

Passenger services director at Gatwick Express, Angie Doll, said: “We’re really excited about the news that the first new Gatwick Express train will be landing at Gatwick Airport station at the end of this month.

“The new fleet will replace 30-year old trains which are not designed for today’s airport passenger, and our new trains will transform the travelling experience with double doors for easier boarding and alighting, power points for laptops and chargers, wi-fi, more luggage space and improved reliability.”

But Doll said new trains are just the start, with a “raft of further exciting improvements” expected from summer, as well as a new station, more trains and an improved rail network for Gatwick’s users.

Just last month, Transport for London also extended Oyster card ‘pay as you go’ and contactless accessibility to Gatwick Airport, as reflected in its latest and largest ever London rail map. Passengers have been able to use their smartcard on Gatwick Express between Victoria and the airport since 11 January.


Andrew Gwilt   05/02/2016 at 00:37

The 1st Gatwick Express Class 387/2 Electrostar train is already in service working on the Bedford-Brighton Thameslink service with the remaining Class 387/2's Electrostars (all 27 387/2's) to be in service for Gatwick Express and to replace the Class 442's along with Thameslink Class 700's Desiro City due to be in service in March/April time as they also be replacing the remaining Class 319's for Southeastern and possibly Northern Rail and the Class 377/2/5's to Great Northern as the 377's are replacing the Class 317's & Class 321's to Abellio Greater Anglia and/or Northern Rail.

Amused   05/02/2016 at 13:12

'over-seat lightning' sounds dangerous!

RTM   05/02/2016 at 14:43

Indeed, that'd be a particularly adventurous new idea for electric traction I suppose! Typo corrected

Matthewread   08/02/2016 at 10:34

I've read that the 442 units will still be retained for a weekday Easbourne-London Bridge turn and they will be also used for weekend Victoria-Brighton turns releasing 377 units elsewhere.

Paul Horner   03/03/2016 at 13:37

Progress? Rock hard seats (or perches) even in first class, stark lighting, and toilets you can't swing anything in, let alone a cat! Back to the drawing board, boys - it's not just about capacity you know!!

Anthony Snelling   23/05/2016 at 06:58

Had the misfortune of travelling to work on one of these trains this morning. Got to say it is one of the most uncomfortable journeys from Brighton to London Victoria. I feel I've been sitting on an ironing board! Terrible!! Not what I expect for a fare over £5000 a year....

David S   21/07/2016 at 12:52

Nice enough train but the seats are very hard and uncomfortable - it's like sitting on a church pew! The only hope is that they will soften up over time, but at the moment it is the most uncomfortable first class seat I've ever sat in.

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