Fi­nal ‘319s’ with­drawn from Thames­link route af­ter 29 years

Rail (UK) - - Network - Richard Clin­nick As­sis­tant Ed­i­tor richard.clin­nick@bauer­me­dia.co.uk

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

MATTHEW DODD.

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.

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