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Thursday, 11 December 2014

Thameslink Transition Part One

The next few years are going to see major changes in the London rail network, with the East/West Crossrail being completed and major developments on the Thameslink routes running North/South across London. At the forefront of this is the total redevelopment of London Bridge Station, which is no mean project as it has a tiny path North of the station with Borough Market on one side and Southwark Cathedral on the other. However redeveloped it is going to be and after this week no Thameslink services will run from Blackfriars to East Croydon via London Bridge for 3 years. They will be diverted via Crystal Palace adding some 15 mins to journey times.

New rolling stock will also be introduced. From 2016 Class 700 units built by Siemens will be launched on the route but in the interim Class 387 Electrostars are filling the gap. These will eventually operate at speeds up to 110mph separating them from other Electrostars on the enhanced Southerm/Southeastern network and Gatwick Express. However there are already Electrostars on the route, again on temporary loan from Southern. I had caught one of them to London Bridge from Farringdon and she looked rather good in the London sun.

377509 at London Bridge en route to Brighton

The first Class 387's entered service on Monday and thanks to Norfolk Scene for publishing the diagram I was able to intercept them en route to hospital in Sussex yesterday. Due to the East Anglian network falling apart yet again I didn't get the extended ride I was hoping for but instead was waiting at London Bridge for her arrival.

3 day old Class 387106 enters London Bridge en route to Bedford
 To be fair the sun made that one not the best so I took another one from the rear before jumping on board.

387107 at the rear of the train at London Bridge
Now the interior is much like the other Southern Electrostars, except I noticed an extra partition in the standard accommodation. The seat moquette is identical to Southern but there is one vital improvement on all other trains in Southern Region as seen below. . .

The interior of the rear coach of 387107. Note the extra partition with 1st Class at the far end.
Power Sockets at every seat! When are we going to get them on GEML so my bloody phone battery doesn't run out on the way back from London!
It was only a short journey to Blackfriars but enough to tell me that the ride will be the same as all the Electrostars - pretty good and very quiet. I have to admit the Electrostars have turned out to be good trains, even if they had numerous teething problems in their early days, and I do hold a certain resentment towards them as they replaced the old slam door trains that had so much character on the Southern/Souteastern network. A bit like Darts replacing Leyland Nationals. Except Darts weren't and still aren't any good!

At Blackfriars I got another couple of shots including the new Thameslnk logo.

The new Thameslink logo
A better view of the side, with the Southern influence more obvious on the doors, taken at Blackfriars
And so the 387 glided off towards City Thameslink and I crossed over to platform 1 to go back the other way again to East Croydon, only to find out the next train there had been cancelled. Never have I been so pleased or lucky to have a train cancelled on me. In Part Two more Electrostars on Thameslink, a new (and puzzling) livery for some of the 319's, a comedian on the PA, and some of the best pics I think I've ever taken.

One last look at 387107 at Blackfriars





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