East Anglia: New Class 700 train for Thameslink rail services is unveiled
- Credit: PA
A new train which will “transform” rail travel on one of the country’s busiest routes was unveiled today, with pledges of increased reliability and energy efficiency.
The electric Class 700 is being built for the Thameslink route through London, with the first new trains due to begin operating in 2016.
From 2018, when the east-west Crosslink rail route is due to open, the East Coast Main Line will also be joined with the Thameslink route, enabling services from Peterborough and Cambridge to run through to provide connections with Eurostar at St Pancras International and Crossrail at Farringdon as well as links to Gatwick and Luton airports.
Siemens is building the 1,140 carriages in Germany, but said up to 2,000 jobs will be created in the UK supply chain, including component manufacturing, maintenance and new depots.
A further 3,000 workers are expected to be employed as part of wider Thameslink infrastructure works.
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The £6.5billion Thameslink programme will offer improvements for passengers and increased capacity and reliability across one of Europe’s busiest stretches of railway, including more seats through central London, more frequent services from St Albans and more carriages into London Bridge.
Speaking at the unveiling of a full-scale mock-up of the train at London’s ExCeL Centre today, rail minister Stephen Hammond said: “We are transforming our railways through the biggest programme of rail investment ever.
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“These exciting new trains, combined with the wider Thameslink programme, are a real boost to UK Plc, creating thousands of jobs in construction and across the supply chain, which is driving forward our economy.
“Once operational they will provide a huge benefit to the hundreds of thousands of passengers who travel into London every day. It will vastly improve train travel providing fast, reliable and more frequent services.”
Steve Scrimshaw, managing director of Siemens Rail Systems UK, said: “Over £80 million has been invested by Siemens in the design and development of the Class 700. The innovative design incorporates the feedback of UK train operators, train crew, cleaners and maintainers, as well as dedicated passenger research, helping us turn proven technology and expertise into a state-of-the-art train of the future.”
First Capital Connect operates the current Thameslink franchise and has worked closely with the government to develop the new trains.
Managing director David Statham said: “This new fleet will give passengers more trains, more carriages and more capacity which our passengers desperately need.
“The Thameslink Programme will deliver more than double the number of carriages across the heart of London. At London Bridge alone the programme will deliver 60% more carriages in the morning rush hour. There will also be exciting new journey opportunities along the route, from Cambridge and Peterborough across the Thames to Blackfriars and beyond.”