03/09/2016

A New Delayed Thameslink Train

The Department of Transport caused job cuts within Derby as they awarded the contract for new Thameslink trains to Siemens. They produced the Class 700, a walkthrough train with many new features.

Crystal Palace 700
Thameslink 700107 on test at Crystal Palace (© Aubrey)

The trains are themselves fairly overdue, as contract difficulties meant that they weren't delivered until mid-2016. The delay meant that in order to cascade 319s to Northern, new 387s were built for Thameslink as a temporary measure to cover the nonexistent 700s, which were supposed to replace all stock through the Thameslink core. Thameslink were already borrowing 377/5s (for Thameslink Programme Key Output 0) and 377/2s from Southern.

Thameslink 700110, East Croydon
Thameslink 700110, East Croydon (© Aubrey)

In order for them to be bought, 19 loans were needed just to fund these trains. After funding, contracts and other administrative stuff was dealt with, the 700s were built in Germany, and then tested at the Siemens test area before being tested on the Thameslink network in broad daylight, as well as after hours. UK testing began in December 2015, and the first train ran on 20th June 2016. Initial diagrams were on London Bridge-Brighton before being introduced through the Thameslink core.

Thameslink 700102, Blackfriars (© James Panaligan)

New depots were built in Hornsey and Three Bridges for the 700s. The depot at Three Bridges is finished, whilst the Hornsey depot is still yet to be linked to the Thameslink network. The small Canal Tunnel connection between St Pancras International and the local lines of the ECML still needs to be completed before the full Thameslink services can be rolled out. This includes most of the local ECML services towards Peterborough and Cambridge being extended to the Southern Region.

The 700s are now well pressed into general service, and do several weekday and some weekend diagrams on the main Bedford-Brighton service.

Thameslink 700104, East Croydon
Thameslink 700104, East Croydon (© Anthony)

Anthony and I rode 700104 between East Croydon and City Thameslink. There is a new passenger information system, with new announcements. These announcements can be heard in a short ride video between Blackfriars and City Thameslink:


(© Aubrey)

There are new passenger information displays that cycle between various boards showing the status of the train, including:

Toilet Status on Thameslink 700104
The status of the toilets (each possibility that's able to be shown is shown) (© Aubrey)

Train Loading Indicator on Thameslink 700104
The train loading indicator (© Aubrey)
This shows how full the train is. So expect to see the whole train be red during peak hours. It also shows passengers where the emptier carriages are, and it means passengers are more likely to distribute themselves across the train more evenly.

TfL Network Status on Thameslink 700104
The status of the TfL network so people can change their plans on the go as and when they need to due to disruptions. (© Aubrey)

Class 700 LED Display Board 1
The destination, calling pattern and next stop (obviously) (© Anthony)

Class 700 LED Display Board 6
The fact CCTV exists (© Anthony)

Class 700 LED Display Board 7
And when First Class isn't First Class (so the Thameslink ticket inspectors can't catch you out when other parties have declassified First on the train) (© Anthony)

Interior of First Class of Thameslink 700104
Talking of First Class, this is what it looks like (© Aubrey)

The seats are not any more comfortable than standard, but they are wider. They also feature plug charging underneath the seat, and a swing door that does not completely cover the doorway. Armrests are also available.

Standard Class interior (© James Panaligan)

The Standard Class interior has no tables on the backs of seats, and features more standing space, more luggage space and perching areas. The seats are like the "ironing board" slightly hard type, as seen on newer 377s, and the 387s. However, there is a clear feeling of more space throughout the train. Air conditioning works, there is faster acceleration (for faster journey times and more frequent trains) and slightly oddly shaped side windows.

Desiro City Thameslink
Thameslink 700104 and 319434, City Thameslink (© Aubrey)

Overall, these trains will definitely do the job of transporting commuters well. And as for the train alongside it? That'll go to Northern as part of a general EMU>DMU cascade. So side by sides of a 700 and a 319 are not very common as the number of 700s increase, the number of 319s decrease. 377s and 387s will initially replace the 319s on the Sevenoaks and Wimbledon Loop services before they too will be replaced by 700s.

Sorry about the lack of posts lately, we are very, very busy at the moment dealing with the latter parts of holidays. Thanks to James Panaligan for allowing us to use some photos for this post, all of his photos are copyright to him.

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