Gearing up for the arrival of new trains as two new depots near completion
The UK will soon be home to two of the most hi-tech train centres in Europe, as completion approaches for the new Three Bridges and Hornsey depots. The two depots will house the Siemens-built Class 700 Desiro City trains, which will start operating on Govia Thameslink Railway’s (GTR) Thameslink and Great Northern services from spring 2016.
The purpose-built Three Bridges depot in Crawley, West Sussex, will be ready to receive trains this summer for testing and training purposes. The first state-of-the-art Class 700s will be put into service by GTR and maintained from Three Bridges. The depot is fully signalled and incorporates key personnel safety features including a depot protection and emergency electrical isolation system. It has an automatic inspection facility which through laser measurement can accurately predict when key train components need to be maintained or replaced.
The construction of the second depot in Hornsey, north London, is also well underway. The first phase of the project, including seven new roads and a carriage wash machine, was handed over to GTR at the end of last month (March). Siemens is now working towards complete handover to GTR in July 2016, when the main facility building and 15 new roads will be in full use. Both depots are being constructed by main contractor VolkerFitzpatrick on behalf of Siemens.
In maintaining the new fleet of trains, the depots will support the broader £6.5bn Thameslink
Programme of infrastructure works to transform north-south travel through London, reduce overcrowding and increase capacity on some of the busiest routes in the UK.
Siemens is also making significant headway with the Class 700s. The trains are currently undergoing testing at Siemens’ state-of-the-art testing facility to ensure they are ready for the UK’s busy rail network. From the middle of 2016, one Class 700 train will be delivered every week to the Three Bridges depot.
In total, around 8,000 jobs will be created through the Thameslink Programme, including up to 2,000 in support of the new trains, across the UK supply chain. A considerable number of components for the new train are being manufactured by UK suppliers throughout the UK, further emphasising the UK rail industry’s ability to compete on a global scale.
Commenting on the near completion of the two depots, Iain Smith, Programme Director of the Thameslink Rolling Stock Project at Siemens, said: “The fact that we are now so close to the completion of Three Bridges depot, with Hornsey following closely behind, is hugely exciting.
“Three Bridges depot is of particular importance to the overall Thameslink Programme due to its role in commissioning the state-of-the-art trains. Without a working depot, we can’t fully test trains, perform maintenance or put them into service. The completion of the first depot later this year will mark a key milestone and takes us a step nearer to a transformation in service for Thameslink passengers”.
In welcoming the impending opening of the Three Bridges Depot, GTR’s Thameslink Programme Director Keith Wallace, added: “For passengers on Brighton Mail Line services, the new depot and 700 trains will, by 2018 deliver 1,000 more seats in the morning peak, allow trains to be lengthened from 8 to 12 carriages, double the number of peak direct services between Brighton and London Bridge and provide 24 trains per hour through our central London stations. This achievement will make a real difference for both commuters and leisure travellers alike and shows the value of partnership working”.