Final ‘319s’ withdrawn from Thameslink route after 29 years
TWENTY-NINE years after they were introduced onto the route, the final Class 319s were withdrawn from Thameslink on August 27.
The four-car dual-voltage electric multiple units were introduced when the cross-London line reopened in 1988. The plan to replace them involves 115 Class 700s, as the Thameslink route builds up to 24 trains per hour from December 2018.
The final two units in traffic were 319217 and 319435, which ran as the 1506 Bedford-Brighton and 1814 return. They arrived back at Bedford at 2059.
Govia Thameslink Railway Engineering Director Gerry McFadden said: “The older ‘319s’ have served us well, and with the help of our staff and rail enthusiasts we gave them a fitting send off.
“Our new Class 700 trains are a vital part of the Governmentsponsored Thameslink programme which will help deliver greater capacity as we modernise the railway to meet the massive growth in passenger numbers.
“The new trains are spacious, air-conditioned and better suited for today’s high-capacity railway. They are well suited for people with accessibility needs and feature modern passenger information systems that even point the way to where there’s more room.
“Now the ‘319s’ have gone it allows us to transform our depot at Bedford from a maintenance facility for four-carriage units into a stabling and servicing facility for 12-carriage Class 700s. This will allow us to introduce even more longer Class 700 trains to the Bedford to Brighton route.”
GTR withdrew the final Class 377/5s from the TL route the following weekend, meaning that all trains were operated by Class 700s. Initially this enables GTR to use 12-car Class 700/1s on trains that were previously four-car formations on weekdays and eightcar formations at weekends.
The Class 700s are to be introduced onto the Great Northern route from the autumn (see Fleet News), and from May next year trains from Cambridge and Peterborough will run onto the TL route at St Pancras.
Currently, 61 of the 72 Class 700s in the UK are commissioned for passenger traffic. Overall, there are currently 46 eight-car and 26 12-car Class 700s in the UK, which equates to 680 vehicles from an order of 1,140. They were ordered by the Department for Transport in
2012, and are built by Siemens in Krefeld (Germany).
Of those 680 vehicles, 548 are available for traffic (the equivalent of 137 four-car EMUs).
Twenty-four Class 319s have been transferred to Northern, with a further eight to follow once they are converted to bi-mode Class 769 Flex units ( RAIL 834). A further seven ‘319s’ are with London Midland, but these are expected to be sent off-lease, while five ‘769s’ have been ordered for Arriva Trains Wales.
To read our coverage of the launch of the ‘319s’, visit http:// www.railmagazine.com/news/ network/thameslink-underway
Govia Thameslink Railway 319435 stands at Blackfriars on August 27, with the last northbound Class 319-operated service - the 1814 Brighton-Bedford. Class 319s were removed from the Thameslink route that day.