Class 700/0s on Great Northern routes before May
EIGHT Class 700/0s are to be introduced on the Great Northern routes to Cambridge and Peterborough before the May timetable change.
Govia Thameslink Railway Engineering Director Gerry McFadden told RAIL that the original plan was for eight eightcar Class 700/0s to be used, but said that may change to seven ‘700/0s’ and a 12-car ‘700/1’.
GTR has already started running two 12-car Class 700/1s on peak-time trains between London King’s Cross and Peterborough ( RAIL 840). McFadden said that the ‘700s’ used on GN would be a ‘captive fleet’ until the May 2018 timetable change, when GN and Thameslink services are officially joined as part of the new timetable ( RAIL 840).
Once Class 700s were introduced on Southern routes to Littlehampton and Horsham, then GTR would focus on GN.
However, introducing the new trains onto the East Coast Main Line was “really tricky”, he said, explaining: “When on the East Coast they have to have lengthy diagrams, and can be operating 18 hours per day which needs virtually the entire driver population to be trained.”
McFadden said that logistically swapping the ‘700s’ for the Class 365s currently used also brings problems.
“The ‘365s’ are ultimately the ROSCOs’ problem [rolling stock leasing companies], but at what point do we give them up? Can you get the ‘700s’ in place? There is one train set per week being introduced - where do you put that? Where do you then put the old trains? The ROSCO gets to collect it, but the train may need attention?”
This is because stabling the older trains is a problem at the moment, with insufficient sidings on the GN network.
McFadden added that around Easter 2018 (March 30-April 2),
some services will operate with Class 700s between Brighton and Cambridge as a precursor to the timetable change, allowing drivers, signallers and staff to get accustomed to the changes.
“The logistics for that are incredibly difficult,” he said. “The purpose is to ensure everything works rather than trying to change it all at once, but the plans are being tweaked.”
He said that delivery of the last Class 700s to GTR is planned for July, with Siemens still building the trains in Krefeld (Germany). Already-delivered trains will be removed from store in May, ready for the timetable change. Currently there are 46 eight-car and 36 12-car sets in the UK (as of November 28) that can be used for passenger traffic, although not all are needed. For example, 700111 and 700116 are stabled at Spittal Sidings, Peterborough.
Govia Thameslink Railway 700110, operating the 1524 Watton-at-StoneHornsey, leaves the Hertford Loop at Bounds Green following completion of European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) testing on May 12. GTR has introduced 12-car ‘700/1s’ on the Great Northern, and intends to introduce eight-car ‘700/0s’ in passenger traffic from next year.