Thursday 12 October 2017

Thameslink update

Siemens 700 stock at Blackfriars
For many people in the Borough, the Thameslink Railway is a daily experience. The service is reaching the end of a massive programme of investment. This started in the early 1980's. Prior to 1988, trains on what was formerly called the BedPan line ran between Bedford and London (St Pancras and Moorgate). A disused link was opened between Farringdon and Blackfriars, allowing trains to cross through London. City Thameslink Station was opened in 1990, allowing the closure and redevelopment of Holborn Viaduct Station.  A new station was built under St Pancras, in 2007 replacing the old Kings Cross Thameslink Station. Both of these new stations were built to accommodate 12 car trains, and over the next few years, various other stations on the network were upgraded to accommodate 12 car trains as well. Only three stations on the route were not upgraded, two of these were in the London Borough of Barnet (Hendon and Cricklewood). Over the last year, the new trains have finally arrived. Over the last year, the 30 year old 319 stock has been replaced by the new Siemens 700 stock. The 700 series stock is formed of trains of 8 and 12 coaches. It is worth noting that if you board a train to Hendon, you have to be on the front 7 coaches to get off. For Cricklewood and Kentish Town, you need to be on the first 8 coaches. Sadly like many infrastructure projects in the UK, there are gaps that result in hassles and difficulties for passengers.

Local commuters are now familiar with these new trains. It is probably fair to say that for many, the jury is still out. The biggest immediate issue are the issues with air conditioning. This selection of tweets shows the ordeal being endured.

This has resulted in a Twitter account being set up called @ToastedbyThameslink dedicated to putting pressure on Thameslink to fix the problems. If you are affected, I suggest you follow this account. Their account profile says "The campaign to get to actually fix the not-fit-for-purpose air conditioning on Class 700 trains."

Then there is the issue of performance. This remains poor. Thameslink provide various stats on their website, including daily and monthly statistics. The latest daily statistics at time of writing showed that only 67% of trains were running on time (Tuesday 10th). There is also a link to more detailed monthly reports on this page.

Another issue is that the new trains, in 8 car formations have less seating than the old 319 stock. There is more space, but this is for standing passengers. The seats are also largely arranged in "airline style' arrangements, allowing far less leg room. The general view is also that the seating is less comfortable, being harder than the seats on the old 319 stock.

Next year, the program will finish, there will be a new timetable. You can check how it affects your journey. There will be more trains from Mill Hill to St Pancras, here is the morning rush hour peak.
Click for a more readable version
So it seems that things will improve, at least in terms of service frequency. We will continue to monitor the progress of Thameslink.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Barnet has got into bed with west London boroughs, and is now promoting a new London Overground "West London Orbital Railway".

They are suggesting four trains an hour from west London going south from the junction to Cricklewood and West Hampstead, and four trains an hour going north from that junction to Hendon Thameslink.

Fancy having a fifth platform at Mill Hill Broadway, to terminate London Overground trains there?