Govia Thameslink Railway announces new train fleets for Gatwick Express and Thameslink

Posted on in News Archive

UK: There was great news for Gatwick Express passengers today as Govia Thameslink Railway announced it had signed a £145.2 million order for 108 new custom built train carriages. The new Gatwick Express trains are due to enter service in 2016, replacing the 1980s-built 442 trains which have been operating on the Gatwick Express service since 2008, and will mark the start of a massive investment in new trains by GTR.

The 27 four-car Bombardier Class 387/2s trains will be specially designed for the rail air route with easier boarding, better luggage space, two by two seating and wi-fi.

Govia Thameslink Railway announces new train fleets for Gatwick Express and Thameslink

Charles Horton, CEO of GTR and Managing Director of Southern, said: “This is great news for our Gatwick passengers, but also for those travelling from Brighton, as in the off-peak some of these trains will be extended to there, while still maintaining the fast connection between Victoria and Gatwick.”

Rail Minister Claire Perry welcomed today's announcement that Bombardier would be providing the new Gatwick Express trains, which will be built as a run-on to the existing 116 carriage order, saying: “These new British built trains are great news for passengers and a boost for the economy. They will transform journeys on the Gatwick Express and Thameslink routes and safeguard jobs at Bombardier's Derby factory.

The new Gatwick Express trains order comes as GTR celebrated the arrival of the first new trains of another fleet, the Class 387/1s. This fleet of 116 air-conditioned carriages, will run on Thameslink Bedford to Brighton route, connecting Gatwick and Luton airports, and will be trialled in passenger service throughout December. From the New Year the new trains will begin to replace the 27-year-old Class 319 trains currently running on this service.
The new Bombardier-built Thameslink 387/1 fleet will boast:

  • two-by-two seating,
  • air-conditioning,
  • the latest automated on-board service information
  • and excellent facilities for people with disabilities.

Mr Horton added: “We took over the operation of the Thameslink route in September and already we are introducing new trains which will transform our passengers' journeys on services between Bedford and Brighton.”

Southern ordered the fleet last year to help facilitate the Department for Transport's Electrification Programme until the Siemens built Class 700 Thameslink trains enter service in 2016. They will secure an increase in capacity for rail passengers by allowing the early release of other electric carriages to newly electrified routes.

Together the fleets represent a £317 million investment in railway rolling stock.

Southern also today confirmed Porterbrook Leasing as the financier of both the Class 387/1s and the new Gatwick Express fleet following a procurement competition earlier this year.
Paul Francis, Managing Director of Porterbrook said “We're delighted to have been appointed financier for the purchase of these new custom built trains for the GTR franchise. Given Porterbrook's recent change of ownership this confirms the ongoing commitment of the company and its Shareholders (Alberta Investment Management Corporation (“AIMCo”), Allianz Capital Partners (“ACP”), EDF Invest and Hastings Funds Management) to continue to invest in new rolling stock.”