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Railhub Archive
2007-04-04 DfT-002
Department for Transport


More trains arriving on busy rail routes - Amended version

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Department for Transport

More trains arriving on busy rail routes - Amended version

4 Apr 2007 08:37
source Department for Transport
type Press release

note DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT News Release (039) issued by The Government News Network on 4 April 2007


More than 12,000 extra seats will be provided on some of the country's busiest rail commuter routes, Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander announced today.

A package of improvements that includes expanding the Gatwick Express service, building new trains and leasing more carriages will boost capacity from the end of the year. All the additional seats will be available by the end of 2008.

The Secretary of State announced that;

* The Gatwick Express will be retained as a non-stop service between Gatwick Airport and London every 15 minutes. At the busiest times of day the service will also run beyond Gatwick to Brighton, doubling the number of express trains between Brighton and London Victoria in the high peak. Unused coaches will be taken from storage and reconditioned to provide the extra trains. At least two extra trains will also run between Redhill and London in the peak. These changes will provide more than 3,700 seats into and out of London at the busiest times.

* An extra 48 carriages will be made available on the Thameslink route operated by First Capital Connect. The first 16 are due to begin operating on the line, which runs from Bedford to Brighton through Central London, by the end of 2007 with all 48 in place by December 2008. This allows FCC to double the remaining four-carriage services to eight carriages during the peak. As a result, the company says it can add almost 8,300 seats during the busiest times. The extra coaches will be transferred from Southern.

* Southern will replace them with 48 new Electrostar coaches (the same model as the rest of its fleet). The investment of around £55 million is set against the background of the recent announcement by the Secretary of State that 1,000 new carriages are intended to be added to the network over the next seven years.

Mr Alexander said: "This is good news for both rail and air passengers. Not only are we adding more seats and more trains on some of the country's busiest rail routes, we are also keeping the fast, frequent Gatwick Express. We have done this by making better use of track-space, taking carriages out of storage and approving the building of new trains.

"The need to increase capacity is a real challenge facing the railway industry and it is a priority for my Department. No single improvement will provide all the extra capacity we want to see but piece-by-piece and route-by-route, we are working to address the challenge. I have already said that there will be 1,000 new carriages on the rail network by 2014."

The current Gatwick Express franchise will be ended early in May 2008 to allow the creation of a new franchise that will include both the Gatwick Express and Southern services.


1. The new Gatwick Express service will begin in December 2008 under the same branding and with the same frequency to and from the airport. Luggage storage will continue be provided to accommodate the needs of airport passengers.

2. Six Gatwick Express trains in the 90-minute height of the morning peak will start at Brighton, calling at Haywards Heath, Gatwick and London Victoria. Some will also call at intermediate stations including Preston Park, Hassocks, Burgess Hill and Wivelsfield. The same service will return southbound in the evening high peak. These trains will comprise a minimum of 10 carriages - compared with the current 7-car Gatwick Express trains.

3. Extra carriages for the service are due to be provided by the leasing of several class 442 vehicles which are not currently in use.

4. At least two extra trains will run between Redhill and London Victoria in both the morning and evening peak, calling also at Merstham, Coulsdon South, East Croydon and Clapham Junction. Further services and stops may be included in the finalised timetable.

5. The changes are the result of the Brighton Main Line Route Utilisation Strategy, which was published on 2 February 2006. Its aim is to improve the journeys for the majority of users of the route, improving punctuality and capacity at peak times while retaining a high-quality airport service.

6. A consultation on the implementation of the strategy was held from 29 September 2006 to 22 December 2006. A Stakeholder Briefing Document which outlines the new arrangements and summarises consultation response is also published today and is on the DfT website at

7. Southern are commissioning 48 new 377 class carriages from Porterbrook who will place an order with manufacturers Bombardier. As the vehicles enter service they will allow the transfer of Southern's remaining class 319s to First Capital Connect - ahead of their scheduled transfer on January 1st 2010.

8. The 319 units are the only trains at present that meet the unique operating characteristics of the Thameslink route, which demands that rolling stock must be capable of operating both on the 25kv overhead and the 750volt dc third-rail electrification systems and also fits through narrow Central London tunnels.

9. A statement outlining the new contractual arrangements was made today to the Stock Exchange.

Railhub Archive ::: 2007-04-04 DfT-002


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