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2008-04-09 DfT-001
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14,500 extra seats for Thameslink passengers


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Department for Transport

14,500 extra seats for Thameslink passengers
_______________________________________________________________


date
9 Apr 2008 09:59
source Department for Transport
type Press release

note DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT News Release (064) issued by The Government News Network on 9 April 2008


Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly today announced 1,100 new carriages for Thameslink routes, increasing the fleet size by 380 vehicles. This will mean an additional 14,500 extra seats for passengers on some of the busiest London commuter routes.

This significant investment, worth around 1.4bn, will buy new carriages and provide an entirely new fleet of trains on the Thameslink route by 2015. This new generation of energy-efficient trains, using the latest technology, will benefit the environment and cause less wear and tear to tracks, minimising potentially disruptive maintenance works.

The extra carriages, part of the Government's 5.5bn Thameslink modernisation programme, will lengthen Thameslink trains from 8 to 12 carriages by spring 2012. Current rolling stock will be released to other parts of the network to provide extra capacity and tackle overcrowding.

This is the first time passenger groups have helped ensure passengers' views are taken into account in the design of new trains. Passenger Focus and London TravelWatch have sought the views of commuters and other passengers on the design features of the trains to be ordered.

Transport Secretary, Ruth Kelly, said:

"This is a major step forward in our commitment to improve passengers' journeys and increase capacity on the railway. This will mean 14,500 more seats on some of the most overcrowded commuter routes into London, improving journeys for passengers on the line from Brighton to Bedford and other Thameslink routes. These new, more reliable and comfortable trains are excellent news for passengers.

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus Chief Executive said:

"The research into what passengers need from new trains on the Thameslink route is ground-breaking and positive. Passenger Focus, working in conjunction with the Government and London TravelWatch, is delighted to be helping ensure that passengers' views are at the heart of decision making about the design of the next generation of trains to run on these busy routes."

The new fleet incorporates additional capacity as provided by the Rolling Stock Plan announced this January. Train manufacturers now have the opportunity to express their interest in winning the contract. This will be followed by a shortlist process with the final contract expected to be awarded in summer 2009.

Notes to editors

1. The Thameslink Programme aims to operate more mainline trains through central London reducing the number of trains that terminate in London.

2. The current Thameslink fleet increases from 720 to approximately 1,100 carriages.

3. The new Thameslink trains will operate through the central London core route between St Pancras International and Blackfriars, providing inner and outer urban services to destinations to the north of London on the Midland and East Coast Main Lines and via London Bridge and Elephant and Castle to destinations to the south of London on the Brighton Main Line and other routes in Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

4. To make effective use of the new trains, the platforms at Blackfriars station will be extended to make it the first station to span the width of the Thames and there will be additional improvements at Farringdon and London Bridge stations to enable the increased services.

5. By December 2015 the current bottlenecks at London Bridge will be eased to enable 18 Thameslink trains per hour to serve this station. Six more trains per hour running via Elephant & Castle will increase capacity through central London to 24 trains an hour between Blackfriars and St Pancras International. The majority of the 24 trains per hour will be 12-carriages long.

6. The schedule aims to have the first train available for testing in autumn 2011, with the first train in passenger service by spring 2012.

7. The DfT has engaged extensively with Network Rail and Train Operating Companies in the development of this rolling stock project.

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk


Railhub Archive ::: 2008-04-09 DfT-001





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