Posted 27th May 2010 | 3 Comments

'No decision' on Thameslink rolling stock

THE Department for Transport has denied reports that government budget cutbacks have led to the cancellation of the order for new Thameslink rolling stock.

The BBC Radio 4 consumer programme 'You and Yours' had confused the Thameslink order with a ganeral statement about rolling stock in the High Level Output Specification, said a DfT spokesman.

The Department has already announced that HLOS-related orders which had not been confirmed with a signed contract would be cancelled in the current financial year, but the major rolling stock orders for the replacement Thameslink fleet, as well as the new trains for Crossrail, are not included in the present HLOS totals.

A spokesman for the DfT would only add that the new government was considering the implications of all transport policy, and that no decision had yet been made about Thameslink.

Work is currently underway on extending many Thameslink route platforms for 12-car trains as well as upgrading the line through central London, with major worksites at Farringdon and Blackfriars, but these improvements are being financed by Network Rail.

The order for a new Thameslink fleet,
which would be worth more than £1 billion, had been deferred until the autumn by the previous government.

New trains for the route would be essential if the present fleet of Class 319 units is to be cascaded to the Great Western Main Line and several key routes in the north west, which are to be electrified. Electrification is also being financed by Network Rail, and has not been said to be at risk from the DfT spending cutbacks.

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  • Darren Eager, MACCLESFIELD, United Kingdom

    I wish the DFT would make there mind up, first it didn't include then it did, then it doesn't!!! Doesn't fill us with much confidence when they can't even get their own story straight!

    I can see Thameslink being cancelled in existing form and more off the shelf products being brought in to serve the same purpose, after all what is our governments obsession of having bespoke train products at twice the price which do the same thing as off the shelf!! How about we get thameslink 1300 carriages off the shelf at half the price and spend the other half of the money on new carriages for Northern? maybe then the north south divide in rail expenditure can be broken!

  • Roger Ford, Welwyn Garden City

    The HLOS 1300 DID include early Thameslink deliveries. There was confusion over this when then Transport Minister Tom Harris said that the HLOS 1300 and the Thameslink fleet were separate and a correction had to be appended to the copy of his speech on the DfT web-site.

    Around 300 Thameslink vehicles were needed to make up the HLOS total to 1300. With the slippage to the Thameslink order, at most 120 vehicles could be in service in the HLOS period assuming an order by the end of this year.

    (Roger is quite right about the events of the Harris era. However, the DfT is now again insisting that HLOS and Thameslink are separate.—Editor)