The 115th and final Siemens Class 700 Desiro City train – and 1,140th new carriage – has rolled off the production line at the company’s train factory in Krefeld, Germany, marking a significant milestone in the completion of the Government-sponsored Thameslink Programme to upgrade the route and add extra capacity for passengers travelling north to south through London and across the south east. The last unit will now undergo testing at Siemens’ test centre in Wildenrath before making its way to the UK in May.
The Siemens Class 700 Desiro City train is the first ‘second generation’ fully digitally enabled train in passenger service and the first mainline train to successfully use Automatic Train Operation and the European Train Control System to increase capacity across London. The first Class 700 pre-series was completed some five years ago and over the past 2.5 years during the peak of production Siemens has manufactured two carriages every day using 80 tonnes of material per day.
The first Class 700 entered into service in June 2016 and there are now 68 units currently in passenger service running about 800,000 miles per month, with 8.5 million miles of passenger service achieved to date. Govia Thameslink Railway is due to accept the 100th Class 700 train next week and is set to have accepted the full fleet of 115 trains by summer this year. By the end of 2019, all these new trains will be in service and will flow in and out of central London every two to three minutes during the busiest times, providing 80% more peak seats across the capital.
Siemens is also responsible for the long-term servicing and maintenance of the Class 700 fleet at its state-of-the-art maintenance depots constructed in Three Bridges, East Sussex and Hornsey, London, to support the Thameslink Programme. Siemens currently has 17 apprentices working on Class 700 fleet operations.
Rail Minister Jo Johnson said: “The final Thameslink train to roll off the production line is an important milestone, with passengers already experiencing the benefits of these high-capacity, state-of-the-art new trains on the network.
“The ambitious £7bn Thameslink programme – sponsored by this Government – is delivering extensive infrastructure enhancements, new trains and a new timetable to tackle one of the busiest and most congested parts of the rail network.
“These major improvements will result in faster, more frequent and more reliable journeys for thousands of passengers across London and the South East when the new timetable is introduced in May.”
Vernon Barker, Managing Director of Rolling Stock for the Mobility Division at Siemens UK, said: “It’s fantastic to see the final Class 700 train rolling off the production line and this really is an important milestone in the delivery of the Programme, showing Siemens is on track to have the complete fleet accepted by GTR this summer.
“The Class 700 is a digital train for a digital age which doesn’t just provide much-needed extra capacity on the Thameslink network but which is also delivering a step change in passenger experience through advanced data-driven technology which significantly enhances customer service information and train maintenance management.
Gerry McFadden, Engineering Director for Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “These state-of-the-art trains, delivered through the £7bn Government-sponsored Thameslink Programme, are a key part of our RailPlan 20/20 modernisation plans to increase capacity and connectivity on Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern – Britain’s most congested railway. This incorporates modernised infrastructure, trains and technology and working practices.
“Today’s Thameslink route is now exclusively operated by Class 700 trains and we have still more units running in and out of King’s Cross on our Great Northern route.
“Recently, we began running a preview of our new cross-London services between Cambridge and Brighton, and Peterborough and Horsham which are due to start in May. This landmark moment shows that GTR is delivering on its promise to give passengers a new, high-intensity service to a greatly expanded network of stations.”
Charles Doyle, Managing Director of Cross London Trains, said: “We are delighted to see the final unit of this significant new fleet leave the factory, and look forward to seeing it join the rest of the Class 700 fleet already in service and making a positive difference to the journeys of travellers across the Thameslink network.”
Steve Timothy, Client Relations Director at Eversholt Rail, said: “It has been a privilege supplying Eversholt Rail’s knowledge and expertise to Cross London Trains, in support of the introduction of the new Siemens Class 700 Desiro City trains to Govia Thameslink Railway. The final train rolling off the Krefeld production line in a timely way marks a significant achievement for all parties and is testament to our great collaboration.”
In addition to manufacturing the trains, Siemens is designing and installing the signalling for Thameslink, due to be completed in May 2018, which will help provide streamlined traffic flows and increased frequency of through-trains, supporting the operation of 24 trains per hour through the core section.
The Thameslink Programme is improving connections through London, giving passengers better travel options to more destinations. It has already delivered longer, 12-car trains between Brighton and Bedford, platform lengthening at a dozen stations between St Pancras and Bedford, track work and upgraded stations at Farringdon and Blackfriars. The redevelopment of London Bridge station, a £1bn project that has been ongoing since 2013, is a cornerstone of the Thameslink Programme and is now nearing completion.