17 Jun 2011

Siemens win Thameslink order

M_378201_MSO_DMSO_Interior, originally uploaded by peter_skuce

It was announced yesterday that Siemens has won the contract to supply a new fleet of trains for Thameslink. Now the ideal vehicles for a route like Thameslink which passes through central London and can become very busy are something like the one on the picture, with seats along the sides and plenty of circulation space. This is in fact one of the Bombardier class 378 Electrostar units which have just been delivered to London Overground.

The only thing is that such vehicles would be most unsuitable to travel on between, say, Brighton and London, which is also part of the Thameslink service. On the longer distance routes, the most suitale trains are probably something like the class 442 "Plastic Pigs"

Now the obvious and traditional solution to this problem is to separate the route into long-distance and short-distance services and have different types of stock for each. Logically, that part of Thameslink that lies within the area of the Greater London Authority would become part of the London Overground network.

In fifty years' time...


  1. Yes it is a tricky one. London commuters/cross-London terminus travellers on the one hand, middle distance travellers on the other, and airport trips as well.

    Means you need space for high densities of people and luggage and a degree of comfort!

    Perhaps the hope is that there will be so many carriages travelling through the centre of London that everyone will get a seat!

  2. The train specification document does mention that two train seating variants are a possibility, but seems to assume that these will be variants of different proportions of 2+2 and "Airline" type seating. No mention of metro type seating at all.
    http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/pi/thameslinkrollingstock/rollingstockhighlevespecif.pdf (section 12)

    I'm not familiar with the line at all, but my bet guess at a solution would be to run an additional high frequency high capacity services on the 'inner london' section of the line to take pressure of the longer distance trains. There's also the potential option of having versions of railway apartheid (where short distance inner london tickets of most standard types are not valid on the long distance thameslink trains).

    There are many opportunities for making extememly unpopular decisions.

    dougbamford's plan of 'putting enough trains on' seems a good one. Here's hoping for your sakes..