As part of the major upgrade to the Thameslink service, West Hampstead commuters can look forward to a fleet of state-of-the-art new trains and a more frequent, “tube-like” service. Just not quite yet. The new trains are scheduled to start coming into service in 2016, and will be gradually phased in over the following two years. But then Thameslink passengers are used to waiting.
The First Capital Connect project team, including engineering project manager Mans Alam and communications manager Roger Perkins, were at the station ticket office yesterday to talk to passengers about the developments, with a 2-metre cutaway model and video of the new trains.
- There will be more regular trains at rush hour; over the 3-hour morning peak there will be a 40% increase in the number of train services calling at West Hampstead.
- Some longer, 12-carriage trains will be in service, significantly increasing capacity.
- The increased frequency of the service needs new trains to match. Carriages have been specially designed for ease and speed of boarding and disembarking, with wider doors and more spacious interiors.
- Seating has been redesigned. Gone are the unpopular 3-seat configurations; instead there are two-seaters throughout. Space has been optimised for different passenger needs such as luggage, space for wheelchairs and buggies, and a baby changing area, and there is more standing room.
- Trains are greener; FCC claims they are “up to 50% more energy efficient”.
Expansion of Thameslink network
The Thameslink network will expand in 2018, linking up with other routes such as the Great Northern (East Coast Main Line) routes to Cambridge and Peterborough, and the route to Sevenoaks via Elephant & Castle.
If you missed the roadshow, you can see the video for yourself, including details of the expanded network.
There’s also a great selection of photos on the IanVisits blog.