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Thameslink replaces last of 30-year-old Class 319 fleet

Thameslink has reached a major milestone this week after replacing the last of its Class 319 fleet with the new Siemens-built Class 700s.

GTR, which operates Thameslink between Bedford, Brighton, Wimbledon, Sutton and Sevenoaks, said that on Sunday 27 August units 319217 and 319435 were coupled together as an eight-car service to make the final southbound journey.

The Class 319 train was introduced in 1988 when the cross-London Thameslink route was reopened to passenger traffic. Gerry McFadden, engineering director at GTR, who spoke to RTM recently about the fleet transformation, said: “The older 319s have served us well and with the help of our staff and rail enthusiasts, we gave them a fitting send off on Sunday.

“Our new Class 700 trains are a vital part of the government-sponsored Thameslink Programme which will help deliver greater capacity as we modernise the railway to meet the massive growth in passenger numbers.”

GTR added that the Class 319 has now been hauled away from Bedford Cauldwell Walk depot where work now begins to convert the site into a stabling and servicing facility for 12-carriage Class 700s.

Last 319 is hauled away from Bedford Cauldwell Walk depot - 31 August 2017

“Now the 319s have gone it allows us to transform our depot at Bedford from a maintenance facility for four-carriage units into a stabling and servicing facility for 12-carriage Class 700s. This will allow us to introduce even more longer Class 700 trains to the Bedford to Brighton route,” said McFadden.

“Bedford Depot started life in 2004 as a maintenance depot for minor servicing of the Class 319 units when there was a six-month blockade of the Thameslink route. At its peak, it became the maintenance depot for 86 Class 319 units and 32 Class 377 units, far exceeding what was envisaged, and it is a credit to the staff that worked there that they delivered so much from such a modest facility.”

Bedford Cauldwell Depot staff mark the end of an era as the final Class 319 is hauled from the depot

In September, Thameslink’s remaining more modern Class 377 trains will be withdrawn, creating a Class 700-only fleet on the Thameslink route.

More Class 700 trains will be delivered to run on the Great Northern route starting on services between Peterborough and King’s Cross this autumn. From May next year these trains and others from Cambridge will join the Thameslink route at St Pancras to give passengers seamless journeys to central London stations such as Farringdon and Blackfriars.

Class 700 at Blackfriars


J, Leicester   01/09/2017 at 09:55

It dawned on me that I saw the last unit in the sidings at Bedford as I travelled north on the 28th. It was still "online", in as much as its light clusters were still on - presumably it was being shunted unter its own power ready for removal. I was surprised to see it as I thought they'd already been retired, but no doubt that's the last time I'll see one. They've been good servants to the area, but I have to admit I'm a fan of the 700s that have replaced them.

Ben   01/09/2017 at 10:14

I shall have the pleasure (!) of seeing 319's for some time to come at Motorail - God's waiting ground of trains! The article doesn't mention the destiny of the 319's though - refurb & off to serve another lifetime somewhere?

RB   01/09/2017 at 10:23

The headline should read 'Northern accept 30year old 319's as their flag ship electric rolling stock'

MDW   01/09/2017 at 13:13

...or 'More London scraps are destined for the North. Northerners told to be grateful for shiny 'new' trains.'

Billd   01/09/2017 at 14:24

Thanks, Guv. (Tips cap) We in the north are happy to accept your old cast-offs. We're ever so humble and count ourselves lucky to have them to replace the old coal trucks with seats that we're used to. Wait, it's probably a trap. We're now going to have to work 25 hours a day 8 days a week to pay for them. If it makes financial sense for the likes of First to replace trains not even in service yet with new ones 'darn sarf', why are we in the north being saddled with 30 year old money pits? After the recent cancellation of the northern electrification projects to finance Crossrail 2 and a report that promotes 25kV electrification of a line in 3rd rail territory, I feel unable to support the current government regime.

J, Leicester   01/09/2017 at 14:58

Luxury! We used to have to get out of the lake at three o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of hot gravel, go to work at' mill every day for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would beat us around' head and neck with a broken bottle, if we were LUCKY!

Andrew Gwilt   01/09/2017 at 16:34

Well at least London Midland will still keep the Class 319's as they already received 7 of them as the Class 321's have been transferred to Scotrail. Which LM could get few extra Class 319's if necessary for peak hour morning and evening services such as London Euston-Milton Keynes Central, Tring, Hemel Hempstead and Northampton. And 1 Class 319 operating on the Watford Junction-St. Albans Abbey branch line.

Andrew JG   01/09/2017 at 23:01

Thameslink has been the best train operator with the Class 319's as their main rolling stocks fleets and were branded in "Cityflyer" and "Citymetro" on the Thameslink network. As Class 700's now dominates the Thameslink network with 12-Car Class 700/1's operates on Bedford-Brighton & Gatwick Airport/Three Bridges and 8-Car Class 700/0's operates on Bedford-Three Bridges, Luton-Wimbledon/Sutton, Luton/St. Albans-Sevenoaks & Orpington, West Hempstead Thameslink/Kentish Town-Sevenoaks/Swanley & Kentish Town-Wimbledon/Sutton services. And from next year-the Class 700's fleets will operate between Wimbledon-Peterborough & Wimbledon-Cambridge/Cambridge North, Ely & Kings Linn, Brighton-Peterborough and Brighton-Cambridge/Cambridge North & Kings Linn.

Huguenot   02/09/2017 at 11:45

Why the enthusiasm for the Class 700s? They are so uncomfortable with hard seats very close together. The 700s have been designed for peak-time crush-loading through the Thameslink core without any consideration for longer-distance passengers, e.g. Bedford-Gatwick or Brighton-Luton. I shan't particularly miss the 319s but the Class 37xs were a real treat, now also to be lost from Thameslink.

David   02/09/2017 at 14:44

So wait... despite the fact that Northern has brand new Class 331s on order, apparently the Class 319s are going to remain their "flagship electric stock"? Also Andrew, Peterborough trains won't be operating to Wimbledon or to Brighton.

Andrew Gwilt   02/09/2017 at 21:17

Hang on!! So it's impossible to get a Thameslink train from Peterborough to Wimbledon and Brighton but you can get a Thameslink train from Cambridge, Cambridge North and Kings Linn to Brighton and Wimbledon or just Brighton from Kings Linn and Cambridge &/or Cambridge North. Which means you have to change at London St. Pancras International (low level), Farringdon, London Blackfriars and/or London Bridge or East Croydon to get the train to Gatwick Airport and Brighton and/or Farringdon or London Blackfriars to get the train to Sutton and Wimbledon if you travel from Kings Linn, Peterborough and Cambridge. Same with interchanging at these stations in Central London to get the train to Sevenoaks and Orpington if you are coming from Cambridge and Peterborough. This has got to be some mistake!!

David   02/09/2017 at 21:24

Why is it a mistake Andrew? The point of Thameslink (and indeed Crossrail) is to free up platform space in the mainline stations by not having to reverse trains in London. There's very few people who will actually be doing end-to-end journeys. Also Thameslink will only be operating to Cambridge North. Platforms aren't long enough north of there.

Class 319 Enthusiast (Class 319 Fan)   02/09/2017 at 21:26

Well I'm glad that the Class 319's have served the Thameslink services north and south of London for 29 years. And have been the most reliable, commuter trains on the network and also serves 2 London airports-Luton and Gatwick on the Thameslink network. Plus with Farringdon being a interchange station that will see the Elizabeth Line trains also stopping at Farringdon so that you can go to London Heathrow, Reading, Shenfield, Essex, Docklands and Abbey Wood which will make your journey more quicker and with extra trains on Thameslink and Elizabeth Line. Thank you so much for dominating the Thameslink route Class 319's. Hope that these Class 319's EMU trains will have a better future away from London up north whilst London Midland will still keep the Class 319's that they replaced the Class 321's to Scotrail.

Andrew Gwilt   02/09/2017 at 21:29

Fair point @David.

Shawn Nhck   03/09/2017 at 01:02

The 319s were good reliable units. The examples that were for a while used on the Victoria to Brighton Capital Coast Express service (319/2) had the best interiors with 2+2 seating with armrests and propertables. The toilets on the recently refurbished 319s have the world's most impractical wash 'basin' where 90% of the water ends up on the floor! On a separate note, I'll also miss the 377/5s, as they have much more comfy seats than the 700s (and tables, reading lights, and armrests).

Ryan   03/09/2017 at 07:37

Btw, Andrew, London Midland are replacing their Class 319s.

Andrew JG   03/09/2017 at 20:27

So you are saying that the Class 319's that London Midland have got at the moment will be replaced. So does that mean that a Class 350 train could operate on the Watford Junction-St. Albans Abbey branch line. Or could LM use some of the Class 323's to operate on some peak hour services including 1 Class 323 to operate on the Abbey branch line.

Andrew JG   03/09/2017 at 20:31

@Ryan. What will happen to the Class 319 that is currently being used on the Abbey Line. If the Class 319's are to be transferred to Northern or modified as Class 769 Bi-Mode units. Could the Class 350 train may operator on the Abbey branch line if that's possible. How do you know if London Midland are to replace the Class 319's. I think you need to realise that London Midland could keep the Class 319's.

AJG89   04/09/2017 at 02:57

Well London Midland which is managed by Govia+Go Ahead/Kelios are going to lose the West Midlands rail franchise on the 10th December just before Christmas this year. And a new franchise that will be taking over from the current London Midland franchise I believe it's Abellio+Mitsui & East JR Co that are taking over the West Midlands rail franchise and is to be operated by West Midlands Trains. And yes they are going to order new trains and carriages in 2018. As part of the new franchise. Which includes replacing the Class 319's but they are going to keep the Class 350's, Class 172's and Class 139 tram-train used on the Stourbridge Town branch line.

Ryan   04/09/2017 at 22:06

Yes Andrew, new trains. I work for Network Rail. So please stop jumping down my throat.

Andrew JG   04/09/2017 at 23:35

Well don't jump into my conclusions then Ryan. Goodness sake.

Mark Hare   05/09/2017 at 11:20

Andrew - all you ever seem to do is list types of trains and services and speculate what services new trains will run on. Do you actually work on the railway?

Jak Jaye   05/09/2017 at 15:40

A voice in the wilderness M.Huguenot! the 700s arent just uncomfortable but offer no privacy whatever with the walk through carriages (just perfect for hooligans and gangs of muggers) they are truly rancid and it beggers belief that the previous useless Transport Minister thought it better to order new trains from Germany(what was wrong with updated Derby ones?)

Ryan   05/09/2017 at 18:44

What conclusions am I jumping to? All I said is that the Class 319s are being replaced.

Andrew JG   06/09/2017 at 00:20

Never mind Ryan. I seem to have snapped.

AJG89   06/09/2017 at 00:27

Let's just move on from the arguments ok. We already know that Thameslink have said goodbye to the Class 319 "Dual Voltage" EMU's that served the Thameslink network for 29 years. Before the Class 700's came and have taken over the Class 319's duties as Thameslink is expanding to other areas including Rochester, Gillingham and parts of North Kent and possibly Ashford International. With Class 700's operating to Brighton, Sutton, Wimbledon, Gatwick Airport, Sevenoaks, Orpington to/from Bedford, Luton, St. Albans, West Hempstead Thameslink and Kentish Town. And soon the Class 700's are to extend to Kings Linn, Cambridge and Cambridge North with the possibility of extending to Peterborough.

Andrew JG   06/09/2017 at 00:29

Mark Hare. Once again I don't work for Network Rail. And I don't care if you hate on what I speculate. Leave it out ok. Goodness sake Mark.

Ryan   06/09/2017 at 20:44

Andrew, the Class 700s are not going to Kings Lynn. They are too long. And I don't know why you are speculating that they will not go to Peterborough.

Andrew JG   09/09/2017 at 01:20

Ok. Fair enough. Ryan. I provided it wrong. Fs sake.

Boris   09/09/2017 at 10:47

Do you really think it's wise to swear at people who work in the rail industry?

Andrew JG   09/09/2017 at 14:27

Why do I even bother to comment. Talk about trolls.

Boris   10/09/2017 at 15:15

How is it trolling when I call you out on swearing at professionals? Do you treat railway workers the same way in real life?

Andrew JG   10/09/2017 at 16:12

Boris. No more please.

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