Friday, 21 November 2014
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New train design has Siemens reaching for the stars

Siemens has unveiled a futuristic new train that will help increase peak capacity on one of Europe’s busiest stretches of railway by 80 per cent.

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The Siemens Class 700 electric trains, whose interiors appear to look more like those of a spacecraft than a conventional rail carriage, will operate from 2016 on the Thameslink service that runs through London from Bedford to Brighton.

The decision to award Siemens the Thameslink contract was controversial as it threatened the future of the last remaining UK train factory until its owner Bombardier struck an additional deal with Southern Railway.

But Siemens claims the contract to build the 1,140 Thameslink carriages will create up to 2,000 jobs across the UK supply chain in component manufacturing, assembly, construction of new depots and subsequent train maintenance.

The government says the £6.5bn Thameslink upgrade will more than double the number of carriages on the line in central London (between Blackfriars and St Pancras) and provide 80% more peak seats.

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Thameslink is currently used by hundreds of thousands of passengers who travel into London every day, and the new trains were designed specifically to improve the service under an £80m Siemens investment programme.

Steve Scrimshaw, managing director of Siemens Rail Systems UK, said in a statement: ‘The innovative design incorporates the feedback of UK train operators, train crew, cleaners and maintainers, as well as dedicated passenger research, helping us turn proven technology and expertise into a state-of-the-art train of the future.’

 

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Cross London Trains, a consortium comprising of Siemens Project Ventures GMbH, Innisfree Limited and 3i infrastructure plc, is financing the new trains and will lease them to the operator of the Thameslink franchise.

The new trains will also release existing rolling stock for use elsewhere on the network, particularly on newly electrified lines in the north west of England and the Thames Valley.


Readers' comments (7)

  • 'Siemens has unveiled a futuristic new train that will help increase peak capacity on one of Europe’s busiest stretches of railway by 80 per cent.'

    Wow, why not buy some more, if this is the case for one of Europes busiest stretches, we could alleviate the need for HS2 if we had a few more of these on the existing network!

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  • They look really good and long overdue for a very tired looking rolling stock although have always found the service reliable.

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  • Not many seats for fatigued commuters.

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  • The 80% additional capacity can only be achieved with new rolling stock in conjunction with Automatic Train Operation on the core section through London to deliver in excess of 24 trains per hour.

    This will be a first for a UK mainline and will be present interesting challenges to deliver this upgrade whilst continuing to run a daily service.

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  • I am glad I no longer have to commute to London from the Northern Home Counties. This design seems to be trending toward the day when there will be no seats at all and everyone will stand. It's the only way I can see an 80% increase in peak time passenger capacity without some radical re-thinking on train timings.

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  • Are they being built in Germany, or not?

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  • Yes, the Siemens Thameslink trains are being built in Germany.

  • How environmental friendly is this vehicle (use and construction?)

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