Rail passengers travelling between London Bridge, Gatwick Airport and Brighton will have more space after a boost in seat numbers.
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has replaced the last of its older trains with cutting-edge Siemens Class 700 carriages, which are longer.
The new 12-carriage trains replace the four and eight-carriage twice-hourly service, which has created 9,000 extra seats each weekday and more space for passengers travelling to and from Gatwick.
With 3.4 million journeys made across the summer to and from Gatwick on Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Southern, the new trains will provide more comfort and space for holidaymakers, says Govia Thameslink.
The wider aisles and doors will make it easier for passengers travelling with suitcases to get on and off the train - and there will be more room to store them.
Gatwick Airport's chief commercial officer Guy Stephenson said: “Gatwick continues to grow with record numbers of passengers travelling through the airport every month.
"These new carriages are ideally suited for air travellers and the longer trains will make a real difference to the increasing number of passengers using the airport and travelling by rail.
“The new Thameslink trains also form part of the exciting transformation of rail services at Gatwick.
"By 2018, rail capacity through Gatwick will have doubled in just 10 years and our passengers will start to see the benefit of trains leaving the airport for London with Tube-like frequency every three minutes."
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.
“Right now it means trains 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.”
The Class 700’s have been rolled out across Thamelink’s entire network and travel between Brighton, St Albans and Bedford, Sevenoaks, Wimbledon and Sutton crossing central London via Blackfriars.
The new trains are part of the government-sponsored £7bn Thameslink Programme, which is helping GTR modernise their network as passenger numbers have doubled in the past 12 years.
All about the new Class 700 trains
- Wider doors and aisles to make getting on and off easier
- Spacious walkways between carriages to make it easier to move through the train to give a greater sense of security
- Two-by-two seating to create more room
- Lots of luggage space – essential for airport travellers
- Adaptive climate-controlled air conditioning
- Electronic signs showing which carriages have more space to sit or stand
- Screens with real time service information from London Underground
- Fully accessible toilets for disabled passengers and those with pushchairs or needing baby changing facilities
- Spaces for full sized bikes in the off-peak; storage for fold-up bikes in the peak
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