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GTR unveils new Class 700 passenger train

A new fleet of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) trains designed to meet growing passenger demand was showcased at Blackfriars station yesterday.

Members of the rail industry and press, including RTM, were allowed to ride the Siemens Class 700 train from Blackfriars to East Croydon.

The 12-coach train is 240m long, travels at 100mph and has 52 first class seats, 602 standard, 18 tip-up and standing room for 1,100 passengers – allowing for a total of 1,754.

Charles Horton, CEO of GTR, said: “I think it will transform the travelling experience of everyone who uses our service. These trains are essential to us in meeting the growth in demand that we’ve seen across the Thameslink network.”

Charles Horton speech

Thameslink passenger numbers have increased by 40% in the past 10 years, and the recent National Infrastructure Commission report into Crossrail 2 said that greater development of London’s transport network is needed by 2033, when the capital will become a ‘megacity’ of more than 10 million people.

The first Class 700s are due to start running on the Thameslink network in the next few weeks, once the final signalling tests are complete.

By 2018, once the London Bridge development is complete, they are expected to run across the network from Brighton to Peterborough, with services up to every two minutes.

The train interior is also designed to increase capacity and passenger comfort, with wide doors, wheelchair accessibility and extra space for luggage and bicycles.

The carriages feature panoramic windows, climate controlled temperature and information screens, providing updates on information such as which carriages are full and ongoing transport links from the station.

Smart signs - showing where there's space

The Class 700 is also the first train in the country to feature the new European Train Control System (ETCS), combined with an Automatic Train Operation System (ATOS). It is also designed to be 25% lighter than existing trains and up to 25% more energy efficient.

RTM will feature a full profile of the new Class 700 in our latest edition, due to be published in July.

(Images c. GTR)

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Huguenot   26/05/2016 at 14:03

They'll have to do something about platform lengths at Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton if the Class 700s are eventually to be used on the stopping GN services to Cambridge, as these stations currently have platforms long enough for only 4 coaches! As I understand it, the Class 377s will only be used on the fast Cambridge/Kings Lynn services, from Kings Cross, not St Pancras Low Level.

Fitology Phil   26/05/2016 at 14:05

Great new trains, but let down by their extremely uncomfortable seats.

David   26/05/2016 at 23:02

Huguenot, I'm not sure about the 2018 service pattern for the Cambridge branch, but the Class 700s are fitted with SDO. And there has been talk that it will be Class 387s instead of 377/5s cascaded to Great Northern from Thameslink.

Huguenot   27/05/2016 at 11:09

Thanks, David, but the local press in Cambridge certainly thinks that the Class 700s will reach Cambridge via the GN route, although only on the semi-fasts. The 377/387s would not be able to use the Thameslink tunnels once ETCS was operational and would therefore be confined to Kings Cross main station. Certainly the original plan was for both Peterborough and Cambridge semi-fasts to use the tunnels through to destinations S of London. So maybe SDO is the solution, although I wouldn't fancy walking through 8 cars of a 12-car train in order to alight!

Thefuture   31/05/2016 at 11:26

No tables,armrests or plug sockets...very disappointing...and hard seating.

Chris@Chesterfield   10/06/2016 at 20:10

The idea of having 2-a-side seating rather than the despised 3+2 is to allow sufficient separation for the spacers (aka armrests). Not really putting the customers first. It is awkward that people are growing, of course. Maybe its a case of 'the wrong kind of humans'.

Justin   14/06/2016 at 20:26

Seimans original brochure for these Desiro Citys shows that the seats that they originally planned to put on these trains were both space saving and ERGONOMICALLY COMFORTABLE with a proper pitch and softer padding. Not these awful ironing boards that someone at the DFT are insisting we have.

Matthew Earl   26/07/2016 at 11:42

This is the most uncomfortable train I have ever traveled on. If you are over 5ft in height, you are in trouble. Very little leg-room and, if you are sat next to the window, a large conduit where the side of the train meets the floor means there isn't actually any room for your right foot! Were these trains deliberately designed for humans!?!? I'm not surprised they have been ordered by GoAhead Trains - a company that doesn't even pretend that it has an interest in it's customers.

Bob W.   04/08/2016 at 23:29

Nice trains, but the seats are narrow, hard and uncomfortable with very upright backs. There are no armrests and they are certainly not suitable for long journeys. Even the original seats on the Class 313 EMUs were better! The seat design is very similar to that on modern buses and the layout/position makes for considerable discomfort. I am yet to see the electronic signage working, despite the hype! The Class 387 is a much better train all round.

Darrenf   05/09/2016 at 21:19

First time on a new 700 train as a commuter. Smelt new and wow - so much space and the indicator boards showing busy carriages useful. However, like most, the seats are awful. I'm average build but my body went into the seat next to me and I was pressed up against the window. Yes I have sat on more comfortable rocks also. Like to know who passed this one. Plus in my carriage there was no overhead racks so expect a few more annoyed commuters. Big shame considering the investment as would of been great otherwise.

Simon Tolson   13/09/2016 at 16:19

A great pity the seating is third rate, many of us work on trains, if fortunate to get a seat, lack of cushioning and support for average 14 stone man like me a real pain, slam door trains gave more ride. Procurers of stock listen and learn.

C Harris   27/10/2016 at 13:23

Extremely uncomfortable . At 6'2" I can't even sit straight in the airline seats and the most unforgiving padding I have ever known. This is the worst train I have EVER travelled on in 30 years of commuting on several different lines.

Matt E.   02/11/2016 at 10:07

These trains are a joke! On the service from Bedford into London, everyone from Luton onwards has to stand. And as others have noted, there is no leg room, no facilities for things like laptops, they really are the most uncomfortable trains I have ever travelled on - in short Thameslink have done nothing but inconvenience their passengers. What a surprise!!!

Brighton Commuter   16/11/2016 at 07:39

I was really pleased with the upgraded trains before these with the introduction of plug sockets etc. These trains are like are elongated skip to dump passengers in.... no armrests, tables, leg room reduced and no plug sockets. Appallingly badly thought out for a train service where passengers are on board for over an hour and a half at times. Those who are paying the most for the journey have had all the confirm stripped out (including seat padding!). Load indicators are a clever idea if you had them on the outside so people could gauge where there was space before getting on and being unable to move. When will train companies ask commuters what they actually want - apart from the basics of being able to board the train and breathe! Epic fail.

James   23/11/2016 at 09:47

What a disaster. After 15 minutes on these seats my back is aching and my backside sore. Laterally I'm pushing against my neighbour.

David Surrey   26/11/2016 at 18:09

These 700 trains are back to 3rd class - but worse! No knee room, fewer seating, nowhere to put tablets/phones,insufficient above-seat lighting to read

Catherine Russell   15/12/2016 at 07:40

My commute is nearly an hour. These trains are killing me already! The seats are so hard & the backs are set at the wrong angle. Three stops in & my back is killing me. Did nobody try sitting in them before fitting them. Dreadful design.

T Man   18/12/2016 at 15:11

I am glad I didn't have to sit all the way to brighton from St pancreas. The seats are dead straight and hard my back and neck are killing just from a 30 min trip. Seats so narrow and no arms rests! Actually felt so stressed and nausea from this train !

John M   18/12/2016 at 16:33

I did not find the seats themselves uncomfortable - the main problem with the 'design' is the heater that protrudes about 10cm from the wall at floor level and is perhaps 15cm tall with a slightly sloped top. As a result your window side leg ends up bent inwards from the knee. Most uncomfortable after a short time. The alternative is to put your foot on top in the facing seats but the heater is really to high for that. I suspect most people will just put their feet on the opposite seat if they are lucky enough to get a facing seat bay with an empty seat opposite. Design seems to have failed the human factors test - Electrostars are better with slightly lower windows so there is more room for your shoulders. Bombarder 1 - Siemens 0

Bazil Hill   29/12/2016 at 12:55

Travelled on this line all my life 72 years What a horrible train stop the build now and give us some decent seats with a fold down table if nothing else

Lee Manser   13/02/2017 at 07:01

I have commutted for 30 years from Brighton to London only interrupted recently as a I changed to car travel to more local work to avoid the train disruption issues. Now looking at returning but the class 700 train seats were painful when I attended two interviews in town. The window seat position is not pleasant due to the low level wperimiter heater casing and no tables for laptops or coffees on a commuter train! I'm sorry, but these are not suitable for purpose. Basically, a long people bin on wheels, more concerned on how many can be accomodated rather than human comfort.

James P   27/07/2017 at 16:37

These trains are literally dire. No back seat tables, no arm rests and if you're sat by the window, there's a conduit which takes up a third of your foot space. Absolutely shocking design and implementation.

Scott P   09/09/2017 at 11:34

Love these new train, plenty of room for leg space, i have travel from Luton to Bedford on these units and for those who moaning about the lack of space on sits, should think about losing weight. just saying.

Emma   27/09/2017 at 22:34

Simply can't believe it, my back is killing me after 15 minutes in this horrid train! I can't believe this passed the design stage, you can't sit straight in the chair, it's almost like going back 50 years! It's like sitting in concrete. Also it's so white and bright it's like a hospital ward! Hate it terrible design.

Spencer   29/10/2017 at 00:07

Horrible trains. To list the problems: - Seats as hard as rock, which for anyone with circulation issues may cause medical problems. They are very uncomfortable. - No arm rests on seats, and seats too narrow for an average sized person. - No tables for drinks on backs of seats (where on earth does a drink go - on the ground under your feet…. ridiculous). - No larger tables for laptops or other items, in double seat areas. - Not enough seats. Simply creating a lot more standing space is hardly a way to accommodate passengers who pay many £1000s a year to commute. - No powerpoints for recharging devices. This should be standard on all new rolling stock. - No Wifi - many commuters work on trains, and Wifi should now be standard. - Hideously bland design. Did someone without any design experience decide on the colour scheme. They really are a contemporary version of hell.

Nicki C   20/11/2017 at 12:44

Copied and pasted below from my Facebook 'rant' about catching these trains for the first time a couple of weeks back. No social media response from Govia (surprise, surprise). The fact that they have never addressed these points and that I've been amazed to find your comments above backing up my thoughts on the new trains, angers me all the more. The people should take a stand... how to these companies simply get away with making our lives even worse all the time yet charge us more and more year on year. I don't care about screen updates (I have an app on my phone to tell me the tube status thanks) and I'd much rather you gave me the ability to fit on a seat (small-medium lady here) and cushioned it a little instead..... "ear Great Northern.... This evening I’ve tried out your super brand new train Home on the 18.12 from Kings Cross. What can I say??? The most UNCOMFORTABLE train I have ever sat on in my life!!! It’s disgusting that you have rolled out brand new trains with ZERO leg room for even a size 8-10 person. The seats are THIN and hard! Just left Finsbury Park and already aching on my backside. You provide NO plug points on a brand new train! A basic on most. WIFI doesn’t seem to work. I am actually livid that this is the future of commuting. You have taken all the bad things and made them worse! I seriously don’t think a size 16 person could sit down on these trains. Excitingly You announced trains eventually could run Peterborough to Brighton on these trains. You’re MENTAL if you think People could spend that time on here. I commute 2 hours each way, each day and in the last 10 years have never been on such a rubbish train. You have ruffled my feathers, you are very mean and I hope you get lots of complaints. Angry from Stevenage 😡😡"

Stephen Spark   20/02/2018 at 23:30

We're told the ironing board seats for Thameslink's prison trains were designed to meet safety regulations. In a derailment or collision, all those standing passengers will be thrown against hard-edged seats. The lack of padding means they will suffer more severe injury as a result, and the TOC will have to pay out more in compensation to the injured. Did Siemens, GTR, HSE or DfT carry out any crash tests on fully furnished loaded trains? Why is a flat solid slab of plastic 'safer' for train passengers yet car manufacturers are allowed to use as much padding as they wish in road vehicles? Another case of road/rail double standards? Or did GTR base the seat choice on lowest cost, and therefore lowest weight, size and pitch? Rail passengers complain but don't help themselves. Whingeing on web forums achieves nothing. There is no worthwhile rail passenger lobby group (forget toothless Transport Focus) able to demand the real improvements we need from government and train operators. That needs to change. We should be banding together in powerful rail users' associations that can make a strong, well-informed legally and technically robust case to the TOC and MPs and insisting that trains be designed for passengers rather than TOC shareholders.

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