Thameslink unveils bigger and better Hornsey depot
THAMESLINK and Siemens unveiled their new depot at Hornsey on December 13. The new facility, built by Volker Fitzpatrick, is where their fleet of Class 700s will be maintained and serviced.
The north London site now boasts a three-road shed on the site of the old Coronation Sidings, as well as extra stabling space around the existing depot.
All three companies acknowledged the challenge of keeping the depot running while expansion work took place around it, and Thameslink Engineering Director Gerry McFadden described the new facilities as fantastic. “It’s’ the most complex and tricky rebuild programme I’ve come across - it’s a brilliant job,” he said.
Hornsey’s southern site now features 14 stabling roads, a carriage washer, a wheel lathe and an underframe cleaning road, in addition to the six-road maintenance shed that was already there. The north site has the three-road shed and a carriage wash line. The southern site also features automatic inspection equipment to check trains as they arrive. Train movements within the depot are controlled from a single panel.
Work started on site in May 2012. In addition to the railway changes, it involved widening bridges over Turnpike Lane and New River. Track and signalling was commissioned in May 2016 and construction was complete in July 2016.
In conjunction with Three Bridges depot in Sussex, Hornsey will maintain Thameslink’s Class 700 units, which are arriving from Siemens at around one per week (either in eight-car or 12-car formations).
Hornsey will also maintain Class 717s that will take over from 40-year-old Class 313s on inner-suburban services between Moorgate and Welwyn Garden City, Hertford and Stevenage. The ‘717s’ should start arriving in late 2018 for full introduction in 2019, said McFadden.
In 2017, Class 700s will start work on Great Northern services. Shepreth, Meldreth and Foxton will have platforms extended to accommodate eight-car trains. From 2018, all 115 Class 700s (1,140 vehicles) will be in service, running through Thameslink’s central core under automatic control and at up to 24 trains per hour.
Meanwhile, Thameslink has just withdrawn its last Class 321s, replaced by its first batch of Class 387s from Bombardier. A second batch will replace Class 317s.
When RAIL visited Hornsey on December 13, 700110 was being prepared for further ATO and European Train Control System (ETCS) tests. Thameslink had run a train under ATO through the central core between St Pancras and Blackfriars three weeks earlier, said McFadden.
He described the ‘700s’ as a leap forward for technology and a brave train to build. He said the class was running remarkably well for a new train, although they had proved not to like neutral sections (part of the overhead wires).
An aerial view over Hornsey depot in October 2016. In the centre is the original depot. At top right is the new three-road north depot. Running from bottom left to top right is the East Coast Main Line. At centre left is Ferme Park carriage sidings...
Inside Hornsey’s north shed on December 13 stand Thameslink 700019, 700110 (being used for ETCS tests) and 700102.