Thameslink replaces the last of its old rolling stock
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has withdrawn the last of its older trains from off-peak service between London Bridge, Gatwick Airport and Brighton. This completes the replacement of older rolling stock with new Siemens Class 700 carriages across the entire Thameslink network – between Brighton, St Albans and Bedford, Sevenoaks, Wimbledon and Sutton crossing central London via Blackfriars.

In this last upgrade, 12-carriage trains have replaced the mostly four-carriage (weekdays) and eight-carriage (Saturdays) twice-hourly service, delivering 9,000 extra seats each weekday.

On the wider network, GTR trains currently run in 8 – carriage or 12 – carriage configurations. A total of 115 Class 700s are to be introduced, and 55 of these are now in passenger service. More 12-carriage trains will be introduced early next year as additional stabling facilities are completed in Bedford.

Thameslink’s previous trains are being cascaded to improve services elsewhere in the country. Class 377 trains from the Brighton- Gatwick-London route, for example, are now working Southern routes and those from the Bedford route have transferred to Southeastern to lengthen its metro routes.

GTR engineering director Gerry McFadden said: “Thameslink is now a Class 700-only route marking a significant milestone in our journey of modernisation towards a new high-frequency service through central London. Trains are now up to three times longer on the off-peak services between Brighton, Gatwick Airport and London Bridge and from May next year hundreds of thousands of new passengers from east Kent, Sussex, Cambridge and Peterborough will be plugged into the cross-London route when the Thameslink network expands.”

Seven cities link-up moves a step closer
The first of a fleet of 26 refurbished highspeed trains has arrived in Aberdeen for the ScotRail Alliance. Over the coming months the train, on lease from Angel Trains, will travel the network in the North East of Scotland for driver training.

The rest of the 26-strong fleet is currently undergoing a programme of refurbishment and will be progressively rolled out next year, providing Scotland’s 7 cities with a high speed link. With support from Transport Scotland and Scotrail, Angel Trains is to invest in excess of £50m in the fleet over the coming years.

Angel Trains CEO Malcolm Brown said:
“The fleet will undergo interior and technical improvements prior to entering into passenger service to ensure that it can meet the requirements of modern intercity travellers.”

South Western Railway unveils its new livery
New liveryNew look trains have begun running on the South Western Railway after the new franchise holder unveiled its brand, with the arrival of the first fully-liveried Class 444 train Waterloo International Terminal.

The new South Western Rail franchise, awarded to a joint venture between FirstGroup and MTR in March 2017, began operating on 20 August 2017 and will run until at least August 2024.

As part of the franchise agreement, more than £90m is to be invested in station improvements including major upgrades at Southampton and Wimbledon. Service delivery improvements include the introduction of Delay Repay making late train compensation easier to claim, improved Wi-Fi and at-seat charging points, toilets on all suburban trains, infotainment systems and better on-board customer information.