Latest Rail News


Thameslink Class 700 passes first stage of ETCS testing

The new fleet of trains for Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) have completed a successful journey through central London using European Train Control System (ETCS) signalling.

The first 240m-long Class 700 Desiro City train successfully entered into passenger service in June, but they are due to be in operation across the GTR network by 2018, where they will be the first to use both ETCS and the Automatic Train Operation System (ATOS).

Early on Saturday morning, Network Rail successfully ran the Class 700 through central London using ETCS level 2 in-cab signalling.

In-cab signalling means that the trains can run automatically, under driver supervision, between St Pancras and Blackfriars. This is needed to allow GTR to meet its target of enabling up to 24 trains an hour to operate by 2018 in order to meet the growing demand on its services.

The Class 700s were built by Siemens and can carry up to 1,754 passengers.

Paul Bates, project director for Network Rail, said: “This is a significant milestone towards enabling the frequency of service that will keep London moving and provide better journeys through the heart of the capital.

“This success is a testament to the integrated and collaborative approach taken by GTR, Siemens and Network Rail, to achieve collective success.”

Introducing ETCS across the railway network is a pillar of the Digital Railway programme.

Network Rail tested the in-cab signalling infrastructure in central London using a Class 313 test train last year, and tests have been run using a Class 700 train at the ETCS National Integration Facility. However, this development marks the first successful test of a Class 700 on the railway it is intended to use.

In September, Network Rail will test ATOS on the St Pancras-Blackfriars route.

Mark Ferrer, new technology director at Siemens Rail Automation, said: “The delivery of this ground-breaking system is a clear demonstration of our ability to deliver the future digital railway, which will increasingly require the definition, development and delivery of these complex systems as the digital railway becomes ever more prevalent.”

Functional and operational tests on the Class 700 will also continue over the next 16 months.

The Class 700s are part of the Thameslink programme of improvements, which will take another step forward on the August bank holiday weekend when two-thirds of the new concourse at London Bridge station opens.

(Image c. GTR)

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.





Andrew G   07/08/2016 at 13:37

The 8-car Class 700 (Class 700/0) is also in service or would be in service (Luton/St. Albans City-Wimbledon/Sutton) in November/December this year.

Max   09/08/2016 at 08:11

These trains are terrible. Narrower seats and very uncomfortable. The lack of trays to work on the train is shocking. No sockets to charge mobile in a XXI century train?

Ben   25/11/2016 at 09:45

@Max These trains were designed to better accommodate the rush hour needs of commuters - if you've ever travelled during peak hours between Three Bridges & Farringdon, or St Albans & Farringdon, you know you have precisely zero chance of getting a seat. So with this in mind, standing space has been maximised, and seating space is the compromise. Charge points aside, I don't understand the lack of WiFi on this service - although with the amount of passengers in both morning & evening peaks, it would probably turn into another frustratingly poor service.

Add your comment


Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

Most Read

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >