Monday, 1 August 2016

First Crossrail train takes to the test track

How time flies! We are already in August now and I have some news regarding TFL as they have unveiled the new Crossrail Elizabeth Line ‘Class 345’ train at Bombardier Transportation test track in Derby.

The first of the new state-of-the-art Elizabeth line trains, which will transform travel across the Capital, was unveiled by TfL today as it took to the test track at Bombardier Transportation in Derby.

In total a fleet of 66 new trains will operate on the TfL-run line, serving the West End, City and Docklands and running from Reading and Heathrow in the west across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, through 40 accessible stations.

The new 'Class 345' trains will enter service in May 2017 on TfL Rail between Liverpool Street and Shenfield. The first trains will initially be seven carriages and 160 metres long to fit existing platforms at Liverpool Street.

Regenerate electricity
The nine carriage, 200 metre-long trains, each are able to carry up to 1,500 people, will be introduced from May 2018, initially between Heathrow and Paddington. All the trains feature walk-through carriages, air conditioning, CCTV for passenger security and real-time travel information.

Each one is constructed from lightweight materials and will regenerate electricity back into the power supply when the train brakes, using up to 30% less energy.

When fully open in 2019, the Elizabeth line will increase central London's rail capacity, carrying over half a million passengers per day, helping TfL to keep pace with London's growing population, which is set to rise from 8.6 million today to around 10 million by 2030.

Val Shawcross, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: 'These state-of-the-art trains will play a key role in London's future - helping to deliver a modern, world class transport system through the new Elizabeth line and enabling London's transport network to cope as our population rises.

'Alongside the new and modernised stations they will serve, the new trains will transform travel across London and will make life better for millions of Londoners.'

Great showcase of British design
Mike Brown MVO, London's Transport Commissioner went to inspect the new train today. He said: 'The Elizabeth line trains, which are a great showcase of British design and manufacture, will be running on part of our network within a year.

'The trains are fully accessible, will have air cooling, and once the whole line opens, they will help our passengers move more easily into and across the city every day.'

Improve passenger journeys
Transport Minister, Lord Ahmad, said: 'The Elizabeth Line and its new trains are a great example of our commitment to improve passenger journeys by investing in one of the most ambitious infrastructure programmes ever undertaken in the UK.

'This investment will transform the way people travel across London and beyond. And it doesn't stop here.

'The Government is spending record amounts on upgrading the rail network, providing a huge boost to capacity to keep Britain moving, support economic growth and bring our country closer together.'

The new trains are being built and tested at Bombardier Transportation's UK site, helping to support 760 UK jobs and 80 apprenticeships.

Flagship project
Peter Doolin, Bombardier Transportation's Vice President Projects, Crossrail & London Underground, said: 'Bombardier is delighted to be working with TfL on this flagship project to deliver new the Elizabeth line trains, which are based on our very latest Aventra product family, a new technology leading train for the UK.

'We look forward to continuing to work together with TfL in manufacturing, testing and introducing these new trains into service in London.'

The first train will now undergo a rigorous testing programme in Derby and from next month at the Old Dalby test centre in Leicestershire. The trains will be extensively tested to ensure they meet TfL's high safety, performance and reliability requirements.

They will be loaded with over one hundred tonnes of weight to simulate being full of passengers, and testing includes taking a complete carriage to a climatic chamber to ensure passengers will be kept comfortable at the extremes of temperature London can experience.

Once trials are completed, testing equipment will be removed from the first trains and the interiors of the trains will be completed with seats and moquette seat-covers before delivery for passenger service.

·         The first trains will be seven-carriages long operating between Liverpool Street and Shenfield. The first full length, nine-carriage trains will be first introduced between Heathrow and Paddington from May 2018.
·         When fully operational in 2019 the Elizabeth line will serve Reading and Heathrow in the west through to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, passing through new tunnels under central London.
·         Transport for London took over the running of stopping services from Liverpool Street out to Shenfield in Essex on 31 May 2015, currently TfL Rail.
·         The trains are based on Bombardier's latest Aventra design which was designed in the UK.
·         All platforms and trains across the Elizabeth line network will be will be fully accessible with step-free access and manual boarding ramps at stations where is not possible to provide level boarding.
·         TfL and train manufacturer Bombardier have worked on the designs of the new trains, based on Bombardier's latest generation Aventra train, with Barber & Osgerby acting as design advisors on the project.

I should mention that back in June 2016, the Siemens-built ‘Class 700’ train entered into service on the National Rail Thameslink Line, and yes, I forgot to report on it!

Thameslink’s new Siemens-built Class 700 train has performed well as it enjoyed its maiden voyage in passenger service on the 10.02 service from Brighton to London Bridge.

Unit 700108, one of the 55 12-carriage trains to be built, made a total of four trips on this route in the off-peak on Monday (20 June) as it was given a “gentle introduction” to passenger service.

On Tuesday the train, which is capable of carrying up to 1,750 in air conditioned comfort, ran nine times between the two stations helping move passengers caught up in the Southern conductors’ strike. The train continues to be used on the four off-peak journeys after which it will begin service on the wider Thameslink route through central London to and from Bedford.

The train’s features include:
·         Wider doors and aisles to make getting on and off easier
·         Spacious walkways between carriages to make it easier to move through the train to give a greater sense of security Two-by-two seating to create more room
·         Lots of luggage space – essential for airport travellers
·         Adaptive climate-controlled air conditioning which adjusts to the number of passengers to keep things comfortable
·         Electronic signs showing which carriages have more space to sit or stand Screens with real time service information
·         Fully accessible toilets for disabled passengers and those with pushchairs or needing baby changing facilities
·         Spaces for full-sized bikes in the off-peak; storage for fold-up bikes in the peak

Govia Thameslink Railway's Engineering Director Gerry McFadden said: “We are thrilled that our new Thameslink train is performing well. In future, as the train continues to prove itself, we will begin running it across London to Bedford.

“Ultimately the train will give passengers much-needed additional capacity with longer trains throughout the rush-hour, creating at least 1,000 extra standard class seats.”

On board the very first service on Monday was Brighton’s Middle Street School which was taking a group of 35 six-year-olds dressed as pirates to see the Golden Hinde in London. Teachers said the new train really added to the excitement.

Anita, a Brighton businesswoman on board, was pleased to hear that peak hour services from Brighton would be run in fixed formation with 12-carriages – half as long again as most Thameslink trains today.

Another passenger, Roger Felkis of Haywards Heath, said: “The wide gangways mean I can get past suitcases without problems. The train’s smooth and comfortable.”
There were also cyclists returning from Sunday’s London to Brighton bike ride who made use of the dedicated bike storage area.

This was the first of the trains to enter service. GTR’s intention is to run the 12-carriage trains in the peak from Brighton. It means Thameslink will have at least 1,000 extra standard class seats from the town in the morning peak once the new fleet and timetable is introduced.

Ultimately there will be 115 new trains running on an expanded Thameslink network to additional destinations such as Peterborough and Cambridge. In total, 55 of these will be in 12-carriage formation and 60 will have eight carriages.

Siemens Thameslink Programme Director Dave Hooper said: “This success represents a step change in cross-London commuter train experience with the latest state-of-the-art train design and on board systems equipment. This has been achieved by many people across our European in-house team and supply chain in design, testing, train manufacturing and depot construction. The service team at Three Bridges depot is very proud to take over the leadership of these new trains from the development phase into passenger service operation and we look forward to entering more new trains into service over the coming months.”

Andy Pitt, Executive Chairman of Cross-London Trains, said: “I am delighted that the new Class 700 trains are entering into passenger service. It’s great to see that passengers are starting to benefit from the massive investment in this brand new train fleet which will deliver much needed additional capacity to the rail network.”

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