Department for Transport
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Extra 14,500 seats due for Thameslink passengers

Extra 14,500 seats due for Thameslink passengers

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT News Release (183) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 27 November 2008

Plans to introduce spacious, longer and more comfortable trains, which will provide an extra 14,500 seats for passengers travelling in South-East England, are set to move a step closer Transport Minister Andrew Adonis announced today.

Companies are today being invited to tender for work to build a new fleet of Thameslink trains. As part of this, the Government has outlined a series of robust terms and conditions that respond to passenger feedback and which are designed to improve travelling conditions on the network.

The new contract will allow older trains to be replaced and bring around 400 additional carriages into service, significantly boosting capacity. Meanwhile trains will be longer and designed to maximise passenger comfort.

Andrew Adonis said:

"This tender for some 1,200 new Thameslink carriages, including around 400 additional carriages on top of those being replaced, forms a vital part of our £5.5 billion plan to significantly increase capacity through central London on the First Capital Connect service between Brighton, Bedford and other destinations which will become part of the network in 2015. When the trains start to arrive in 2012, passengers will see many peak time trains lengthened by 50%, from 8 to 12 carriages. By the end of 2015 there will be trains running every 2 to 3 minutes into and out of central London.

"The modern design of the new carriage is more spacious than existing ones. They are also more energy efficient and environmentally friendly and their lightweight design will reduce wear and tear on the lines, reducing maintenance costs."

First Capital Connect, which operates services on the Thameslink route, has supported the Department in developing the specification and commercial framework for the new trains.

Managing Director Elaine Holt said:

"We really welcome this investment to deliver increased capacity for the benefit of our customers. We look forward to continue working with the Department and the successful manufacturer to deliver these exciting new trains."

Andy Mitchell, Network Rail's major programme director for Thameslink, said:

"Today's invitation to tender is an important milestone in a process which goes far beyond the build of new trains. This is a vital step in the Thameslink programme, which sees the whole railway industry working together to deliver more services, more frequently and with more seats for passengers.

"We are very proud to be delivering not only the new stations and infrastructure on the Thameslink programme but also to be working hand in hand with the Government and train operating companies to develop the trains that will set the standards for others to aspire to."

Notes to Editors

1. Four firms are being invited to tender: Alstom, Bombardier, Hitachi and Siemens. Bids will be formally submitted in April 2009 with the contract being awarded in March 2010. It is intended that the first trains will be available for testing in autumn 2011, with the first trains coming into service by during 2012.

2. According to design specifications, the new trains must be able to accelerate and brake more quickly enabling the line to support 24 trains an hour at peak times.

3. The trains must also be more reliable and offer passengers a larger number of more comfortable and safer sitting and standing spaces. They must also be able to provide passengers with more information.

4. The design must also enable passengers to quickly board and alight the train. Bidders will be expected to provide a better onboard experience for passengers through features such as improved temperature regulation and whole journey passenger information.

5. Clauses in the new contract will ensure that if the trains do not perform according to specification the train maintainers will face heavy penalties. This will result in savings for the taxpayer and a more reliable service.

6. The Department has also worked closely with Network Rail and train operating company First Capital Connect (FCC), to develop the high standards expected of the trains.

7. First Capital Connect and Network Rail have actively supported the Department in developing the tender specifications and proposed contracts for the new trains to which the Bidders are being asked to respond. First Capital Connect will sign the contracts with the successful Bidder and mange the contract implementation

8. Carriages will be joined together permanently to form a train and will stay this way in a 'fixed formation' for the rest of their working life. This will make the manufacturing process simpler and more economical, and allows the trains to work more reliably.

9. The routes which will be operated by Thameslink from 2015 currently use around 720 vehicles; this will increase to 1,200. The fleet incorporates additional capacity as provided by the Rolling Stock Plan announced in January 2008.

10. The new Thameslink trains will operate through the central London core route between St Pancras International and Blackfriars, providing inner and outer urban services to destinations to the north of London on the Midland and East Coast Main Lines and via London Bridge and Elephant and Castle to destinations to the south of London on the Brighton Main Line and other routes in Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

11. To make effective use of the new trains, platforms at Blackfriars station will be extended to make it the first station to span the width of the Thames. There will also be additional improvements at Farringdon and London Bridge stations to accommodate the longer more frequent services.

12. By December 2015 bottlenecks at London Bridge will be eased to enable 18 Thameslink trains per hour to serve this station. Six more trains per hour running via Elephant & Castle will increase capacity through central London to up to 24 trains an hour between Blackfriars and St Pancras International. During the peak hours, the majority of the 24 trains per hour will be 12 carriages long.

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Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk

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